What do American Girl dolls and the Rolling Stones have in common?

Written by on November 23, 2012 in Uncategorized - 10 Comments

This month I’m participating in NaNoWriMo. Since I won’t have as much time to blog, I asked some of my favorite bloggers to guest post for me – and some of them were actually willing to do it. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do; they have become my friends through this crazy little thing known as the internet, and I’m grateful for their support. -Tricia

By Suzanne Young

After giving birth to two healthy boys, it was inevitable that friends and acquaintances would ask if I was “trying for a girl” while pregnant with my third child.  Without hesitation I’d respond, “Hell yeah, I want a girl!  I need at least one toilet seat in this house in the down position don’t I?”

Looking back, I realize I rarely, if ever, responded placidly “I just want a healthy child” because “duh!” that was a given.  Every pregnant woman wants a child with ten perfect fingers and toes, and pink-hued skin, and a loud, robust cry when they make their grand entrance into the world, because that is what’s supposed to happen. Right?

But the Rolling Stones said it best, “You can’t always get what you want.”

On September 16, 1992, I received the baby girl I so desperately wanted.  Unfortunately, she entered the world with the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck, a  frighteningly low Apgar score, and with no apparent gag response.  Within minutes of her birth she was whisked away by a team of pediatric specialists with assurances that “we would see her soon.”

Minutes turned into hours, and we soon discovered that our daughter had come into this world with numerous physical and cognitive challenges.  The doctors were baffled, and after several days of poking and prodding and medical head scratching, they predicted that she would most likely have a brief and lamentable life.

But what happens when the “experts” are wrong?  What if this “less-than-perfect” child has her own agenda?  What if SHE has plans to set the world straight about what someone with a cognitive disability looks like or what their contributions to the world will be?

Admittedly, being handed a child with physical and cognitive disabilities surprised us, challenged us, and sent us blindly down a path without a compass.  It was a path that Kinsey had chosen for us, and we soon discovered that she was going to take us on a pretty amazing journey.  It hasn’t always been easy, but she has shown us that living a life askew may not be such a terrible thing after all.

Here are a few life lessons she has taught us along the way:

Find friendship wherever you go - Kinsey has been given many gifts, and one of the greatest is her ability to accept everyone – without judgement.  This is rather ironic, because people with disabilities are often seen, judged, and then dismissed in a matter of seconds.  Not so with Kinsey.  She is not afraid to smile at strangers, introduce herself, ask them how they are doing, and of course tell them about herself.  When I try to intervene because I think she is bothering them, she clasps their hand, looks me straight in the eye and pronounces them as “my new friend.” I’ve seen the most grim looking people, melt in her presence and wave me off when I try and redirect her.  “No, of course she isn’t bothering me!” they declare.  “We were just talking about (you name it)”, and it is I who is being redirected!  And the lesson learned here? Disarm someone with your smile, and show genuine interest and you are well on your way to making a new friend.

Set your goals high and prepare to amaze yourself - During Kinsey’s senior year of high school she participated in a work internship program.  This gave students the opportunity to gain valuable work experience at various businesses in the community.  Students rotated through a sheltered work environment at 6-week increments.  Kinsey,  the ultimate people person, was now in her element.  Helping people, and being appreciated for a job well done, Kinsey flourished in this program.  Wanting even more challenge, she told her job coach that she wanted to work at JC Penney, her favorite retailer.  She was so serious in her intention that she told her job coach she “was going to put her foot down” (complete with dramatic foot stamp) and ask for a job at JCP.  Since she was already well known from our frequent trips to the store, her job coach decided to ask if Kinsey could intern (for free) several hours a week.  Their response? Internships were not available, but if she was serious, she could apply online for a paid position.  Buoyed by Kinsey’s unwavering belief that “of course JCP will want to hire me” her job coach pressed forward and assisted Kinsey on her quest for employment.  Within hours of applying for a job, Kinsey had an interview scheduled for the next day.  Two hours after the interview, Kinsey was offered a job.  This week Kinsey will be celebrating her 2nd anniversary as a JCP employee. One that I may add, has received numerous customer service awards and the love and admiration of her fellow employees.  No doubt Kinsey channeled her inner Coco Chanel who declared, “Success is most often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable.”

The word NO does not really mean no.  It just gives you one more opportunity to keep asking for what you want.  And more often than not, getting it.  Case in point, last Christmas Kinsey received her first American Girl doll from Santa/Grandma.  Within a week she was asking for a second doll.  Our resolve was strong, and she was met with blank stares and a firm NO.  If you think this quashed her desire for another doll, then you don’t know her true genius.  She came up with a fail-proof Plan B.  Using her best friend “Google” she discovered that there was an American Girl doll store in Dallas.  She then proceeded to input our home address and that of the store and printed out driving directions, along with suggested hotels in the Dallas area and handed it to her dad…so he wouldn’t get lost.  Cognitively delayed?  I don’t think so.  How do you say no to THAT?  Especially when she agrees to pay for the doll, clothes and accessories herself from her earnings at JC Penney?  And that third AG doll she just purchased?  Clearly she was using Jedi mind tricks to get that one as well!

Perhaps the aging bad boys of rock understand the mysteries of life better than I thought.  It’s true, “You can’t always get what you want.  But if you try sometimes, well you might find you get what you need.”

Thank you Kinsey.  You demonstrate how to embrace life and live it large, regardless of the challenges the Universe has placed before you.  I need to pay better attention.

Suzanne Young is an all-around lovely person who blogs at Kinsey’s Texas Tales

 

10 Comments on "What do American Girl dolls and the Rolling Stones have in common?"

  1. Sassy November 24, 2012 at 11:39 pm · Reply

    What a beautiful post Suzaane! And I can confirm her Jedi Mind abilities. Remember the time the flags for the grad party got so tangled we put them to the side to throw away-only to have Kinsey hand them back to us ready to hang a few minutes later. Or the time in Cancun with 65 people in so many rooms I could not count them, but if someone was late, Kinsey knew their room number and called them to tell them they were late. She is a remarkable girl from a remarkable family.

  2. Nichole November 25, 2012 at 12:43 pm · Reply

    I love this so much, and I hope I get to meet Kinsey some day! Everyone needs to have their steely facade melted every now and again.

  3. Anne (@notasupermom) November 25, 2012 at 1:39 pm · Reply

    Love this! Kinsey for President!

  4. Andrea November 25, 2012 at 1:44 pm · Reply

    What a beautiful post and a wonderful way to honor the strength your daughter has, and the reminders for us all to absorb some of her tenacity!

  5. Ruth S. Thomas November 25, 2012 at 1:53 pm · Reply

    Thank you for publishing my daughter’s blog. She definitely is a good, all round person and also a lot of fun. She is the daughter I wanted and also knew how to make friends as Kinsey does. I’m a very lucky grandma, known to Kinsey as MomMom.

    Warmest wishes,
    Ruth

  6. Jennifer Bilbro November 25, 2012 at 1:56 pm · Reply

    Beautifully written! Kinsey sounds like someone everyone should aspire to be. My uncle Don passed away recently and embodied the same characteristics. He was 59 years old and was diagnosed late in life with Fragile X Syndrome. Even as a kid, I knew he was amazing and his willingness to accept everyone continued to astound me. Kinsey, I hope you enjoy your American Girl Dolls – JCP is lucky to have you! Continued blessings to all of you!

  7. Susan in the Boonies November 25, 2012 at 2:50 pm · Reply

    What an amazing young lady, who is happily blessed with a mom who’s been willing to be taught.
    Kinsey’s light is shining brightly: thanks for helping those of us who are far away to catch a glimpse, through telling her story.

  8. Chloe Jeffreys November 25, 2012 at 2:53 pm · Reply

    Mick Jagger as philosopher? Yes, I think so. Your daughter is amazing and has so much to teach us all. Thank you for sharing her with us..

  9. Uncle Tim & Aunt Cathy November 25, 2012 at 9:48 pm · Reply

    Tricia,

    Thanks for letting Suzanne share her blog on your site. Kinsey is truly a blessing, and an amazing girl.She brings a special light to all our family events, it’s as if God said,”Yes, I may be giving you a challenge, but I will also give you a heart that is bigger than all outdoors so that anyone who takes the time to know you, will love you.”
    We love you Kinsey~!

  10. Gretchen November 26, 2012 at 1:18 pm · Reply

    I feel so blessed to be an avid fan of Kinsey and also to have met her in person and referred to as one of her many friends! Thank you so much for continuing to write so beautifully about her Suzanne! I love being a part of the Wonderful World of Kinsey!

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