Raising A Child to Be Born Just Right, by Jen Lee Reeves

JordanGreatnessFlaunt I’m thrilled to be able to share our story. I’d like to introduce Jordan. She’s seven and is proud to flaunt how she was born just right with one hand. She has a left humerus and probably some tendons that would have been connected to an elbow but she doesn’t have one. I’m proud of Jordan for a lot of reasons. Jordan is currently in first grade. She isn’t afraid of new environments, but we prepare. In the last school years, we’ve written short books telling her story so kids can move past her limb difference and enjoy her vibrant, high energy personality. On Jordan’s first day of school this year, a boy who isn’t in her class walked up to her on the playground and called her gross. Jordan didn’t bat an eye. She walked right to her principal and told him what happened. She didn’t fret. She is matter of fact. She expects respect and she is learning to be respectful herself. (Being seven is tough work.) As a mom, I’ve spent so much time trying to help prepare her to not let comments like that boys’ to affect her. As a person who grew up with all of her fingers and toes and STILL had self-confidence issues, I want to hide her from our culture of perfection. But we all know that isn’t possible. There will always be mean kids or mean adults. My gut reaction is to protect her. It’s tough knowing she has to deal with mean words and staring for her whole life. But I realized pretty early on that sheltering my daughter will not protect her. It will make it even harder to grow up in an image obsessed culture. Instead, I focus on helping Jordan prepare for reactions that may hurt. Last summer, my pride was front and center in a very symbolic way: Jordan was asked to be a flower girl in THREE weddings. She was proud and beautiful in each event.  She proved it each time she was a flower girl. Jordan proudly balanced the flower basket incredibly well with her little arm as she evenly decorated the aisle. She can flaunt her skills with pride… And she’s even better on the dance floor! As the mom of a daughter who was born with a limb difference, I’ve encouraged Jordan to live her life with confidence. To do that, we’ve been able to find many ways to meet other limb different kids and adults. I’ve used our blog, Born Just Right, to share our experiences and meet families everywhere we travel. Jordan and the rest of our family have also been a part of Camp No Limits Missouri since it first arrived in our area in 2009. Jordan was three and a half at the time and we just keep attending. The family camp has helped build Jordan’s focus on core strength (the kids do Pilates each day) while parents get support and learn more about limb difference resources. Siblings get to lean on each other. They also get more perspective of what it’s like to have a limb difference. The camp is so special to us, Jordan raised $2300 for it as a part of her birthday celebration in December 2011. For 2012, we raised $3790 and counting. I ran in a half marathon and Jordan had a Finding Nemo fundraiser celebration when the movie came back to theaters. As Jordan grows, she realizes she’s in the public eye thanks to the Born Just Right site and her obvious difference while living in a city that isn’t very big. She recently was rewarded a sports inspiration award for all of the sports and activities she tries to do in our town. I tell her that people notice how she tries and tries and tries. I personally hope that by encouraging her to try, I’m raising a confident young girl who not only trusts her abilities, but she also trusts her ability to lead and mentor other children (and adults) along the way.

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