Isabelle stands in the backyard, contemplating the swing set. Her hands are planted firmly on her hips as she assesses the structure: it’s height, the potential danger, the probability of her either falling or reaching the top. She’d never been up on her own before. For her older brother Eli, climbing these stairs was easy – she’d watched him do it a hundred times. But she’d never done it without help from her mom or dad.
She knew now, at 6, that she wasn’t exactly the same as the other kids. She realized she needed some special help, some extra supervision that neither her brothers nor her classmates needed. But that doesn’t mean that much to her. She doesn’t know that the world has a name for her ‘limitations,’ that they call it Kabuki syndrome. It doesn’t matter to her that it’s really rare… that few people other than her have it. She already knows she’s special, she doesn’t need a doctor to tell her so. The way she looks at the swing set is probably differently than her peers because to her, it’s a challenge. A chance to do something. A chance to prove herself.
Before she has decided whether or not she stands a chance of making it to the top… her foot is already on the first step. And then the second. She’s concentrating on nothing but what she needs to do, on what must happen for her to succeed. And then, it seems like it took forever, but she can’t believe it – she’s standing on top of the play set. She looks down at what she’s just done, at what it took for her to get here. Her mom calls her name and she looks, waving and smiling. Mom Heidi’s expression quickly turns from shock to pride… and Izzy can see there are tears behind her eyes.
“Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.”
Martin Luther King Jr. said that, and Izzy knows exactly what he meant.