Letter to my Parents, Teachers, and Coaches from my Younger Self

Little Laura with an expression of joy and wonder

Had I been able to articulate what support I needed as a child, here is what I would have requested of the adults in my life

Please don’t make me prove to you that I’m okay. I need you to trust that I will be okay and will have a great life. Please see me as whole and remind me often that I am.

Please don’t make me have to take care of your emotions around my hand difference – it is exhausting! Please get whatever help/support you need for yourself so that when I need you to listen and validate what I’m experiencing, you are able to do so.

Please reach out to others who have this special situation to be able to anticipate what unusual circumstances I may deal with in my life.

Please understand that grieving is a process. Please grieve the child you didn’t have as often as you need so that you can truly love the one you do.

Please don’t let anyone decide for me what I can and can’t do.

Please support me in the things I want to pursue. But also remind me that I don’t have to do everything everyone else does. Please help me to learn the concept of choice.

Just because I have figured out how to do some things for myself, please don’t assume that I will figure out everything independently. I need you to be part of the process.

Please understand that even though being different can be amazing, it also can be hard and challenging. When I go out into the world, not everyone sees how wonderful my difference is. So I need empathy for the places and spaces where that message hasn’t yet reached. And I need appreciation of how long it can take to get to a place of acceptance about one’s own body.

Please know that you will always question whether you are doing enough for me. But the most important thing you can do is to love me exactly as I am.

Please understand that sometimes people will focus on my differences too much. At other times, they won’t focus on it enough. Please listen when I tell you what I need.

Please be aware as I grow that asymmetries in the body are cumulative. Things that are easy for me to do with my different or dominant side when I am young may be harder as I get older. If I ever tell you that my body hurts, please listen and consult with someone with expertise.

Please model asking and accepting help from others. Seeing you do this will make it easier for me to ask and accept help from others. After all, everyone needs help sometimes.

When I’m old enough to do more for myself, please be with me rather than do for me. Work with me to problem solve. Even when I no longer ask you for help, please continue to offer help. If I refuse, don’t be offended – one day I may accept the help.

Please understand that as I get older, I often will make how I have adapted to life look easy and that I have figured it all out. But I need you to know that it often is not easy; in fact sometimes it’s still super hard.

Above all, I love you ❤️ and thank you for everything you do for me!

©2022. Laura Faye Clubok, MS, OTR/L, On The Other Hand Therapy

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