March 22, 2015

The "Specialness" of Whitney! by Alan Anderson

For my blog post this month I want to introduce readers to one of the special people in my life.  When it comes to "special" people we may think of those who stand out from most of us. These special people find a permanent place in one's heart. Whitney is one of those people to me.

Whitney is my granddaughter, my only granddaughter! Some people have labelled her as a "special needs" child but they are unfortunately shortsighted. They seem to only see her as a "Down Syndrome child" while missing her true "specialness".  Most likely due to the fact I love her so much I see her as Whitney and she is indeed special to me.

Whitney, all twenty-four pounds of her, is special to me.  I think I am special to her as well.  When my wife and I visit our daughter and son-in-law and their children, I always receive a "special" welcome. If she hears my voice before she sees me she giggles and squeals with glee. As soon as she has me in sight she will say something like, "up up Papa!" I then receive a big hug on both my shoulders and sometimes a little kiss. My dear wife, Whitney's "Mie Mie" has to more or less wait in line so to speak.

Whitney is special to me!  She is my teacher. I think writers need those who can teach them about life.  She does this very well.  She teaches me to accept things I cannot change.  She also teaches me  to embrace life in spite of the challenges and scars it may leave.  

Whitney seems to live in a way that every moment is to be explored and enjoyed. When sickness or some other form of suffering comes her way she endures it and bounces back.  It may be she endures suffering for hope is ever present.  Hope to Whitney is personified in her mom and dad as well as her brothers.  They are there to literally pick her up when she falls down.  They are the ones who know just how to kiss away her "boo boos" and hold her when life seems so unfair.

Whitney is special to me!  Like my other grandchildren, the world is a better place with her in it.  When I am with her I don't have to prove anything.  She accepts me as she finds me.  Accepting people is a great lesson for all of us to grasp and practice.

Whitney is special to me!  She is an inspiration to me as I develop my writing skill.  I try to capture human angst, misery, suffering and pain in my writing without pulling punches. I also capture a balanced view by integrating such other human emotions as hope, joy, happiness, victory and perseverance in spite of hardship.  Sometimes I think I write under the shadow of Job's misery and the fruit of the Spirit mentioned in the book of Galatians. Be that as it may, Whitney's challenges and over-comings in life continue to inspire me.

Whitney's life journey continues to amaze and encourage me to receive life as a gift. She is an encouragement to others who know her to face challenges head on. She is not on her own in good times and bad. Those who love her are wise enough see beyond her limitations and are aware of their own.  This is perhaps where her "specialness" shines the most. She reminds us we are in this life together and to accept each other as we journey on.


  1. Thank you for sharing this today Alan. God NEVER makes mistakes!

  2. Alan, as you described Whitney's relationship with her safe, secure world, it struck me that this is what Jesus promises me, if I'll just trust him as much as Whitney trusts her family. What a wonderful realization! Now, if I can only be as wise as Whitney in relating to the one who loves me!

    Great piece, Alan!

  3. I had a downs syndrome sister, and can testify to the joy of life she had and joy she brought to others. She loved music, and lived to 60 years of age. Those and others in this "handicapped" category are God's special children.

  4. What a heart-warming story, Alan. Accepting and being accepted by those we love, inspiring one another, receiving life as a gift: all of these are blessings. I love how you say, "Whitney's challenges and over-comings in life continue to inspire me." Your story moved me in a beautiful way. Thanks.


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