Our Stories

I Grew Up This Way

April 2, 2018

“I dare say it is rather hard to be a rat,” she mused. “Nobody likes you.

People jump and run away and scream out, ‘Oh, a horrid rat!’

I shouldn’t like people to scream and jump and say, ‘Oh, a horrid Sara!’ the moment they saw me. It’s so different to be a sparrow.

But nobody asked this rat if he wanted to be a rat when he was made.

Nobody said, ‘Wouldn’t you rather be a sparrow?’”

Excerpt From: Frances Hodgson Burnett. “A Little Princess.”

I love this scene from my favorite of FHB’s books, A Little Princess. (Yes I said it…it’s my favorite.) Sara looks at life with a fresh and always open set of eyes that we rarely use.

AND I also love Snapchat filters! My daughter and I have spent hours, snuggled in on the couch, giggling as we swipe to the next filter and see how crazy, cute, weird, wacky, and even terribly ugly we look!

The fact that with the click of a button, I can choose to be a rat or a sparrow or even have the face of my 14 year old son…is just so fun.

But in real life, we don’t get those options do we?

My mother always chirped “You get what you get…and you don’t throw a fit’ when as kids we began to complain about the options being presented to us.

When my own kids were a bit younger, we were watching a basketball game on TV when they noticed an albino player on one of the teams. After asking what was wrong with him, one commented off hand that he looked “freaky”. My heart broke as the other chimed in to agree.

Freaky, did really they just say that? My typically loving kids, when confronted with someone who was visibly different, chose to call him names instead of celebrating him.

I started to snap at them when I heard my soul whisper….“How many times have you called your own physical “differences” bad names in the mirror, when you should have been celebrating them.”

I immediately sat down, realizing that this was a great teaching moment…for all of us. We talked for a long while about what albinism is, about how hard it can be for someone who was different, but also how cool it could be too.

“Nobody asked him if he wanted to be Albino when he was made, did they?” I said, recalling Sara’s words about the rat. “He was just born that way.”

One asked, “Well isn’t it weird when he looks at himself in the mirror?”

“Not at all,” I said, “because he has always been albino, he grew up that way.”

“Mom!” my daughter Rylan interrupted, “When you just said that, I was singing those exact words in my head!”

“I remember the moment. I remember the pain. I was only a girl, but I grew up that way.” she sang out and then exclaimed, “God, you are so cool!” while grinning from ear to ear about HIS perfect timing.

In typical Rylan fashion, she was singing the wrong song lyrics (she gets this gift from me), but her heart was in the right place. The girl in the real Britt Nicole song grew up that DAY, not way.

And we all GREW UP THAT DAY as we talked at length about how we don’t get to custom order our bodies…our color…or our gender, but we do get to shake what our mamas gave us! Not one of us is made the same…so in essence we are all what they had called “freaky” and different.

We also watched this great video (see link at the bottom of the blog) where model Diandra Forrest‘s final words summed it all up.

“We are ALL different in SOME WAY, and that’s OK.”

Her term “some way” lingered in my ears and stirred something inside. I was so focused on teaching the kids about the “outside” differences, that I almost missed THIS:

Just like with our bodies, color, and gender…

we didn’t get to choose the gifts and talents that were planted inside each of us.

BUT we do get to choose IF, WHEN and HOW we use them.

And not using MY gifts and talents, is like ignoring my feet when I head out for a walk. They are a vital part of what makes me, ME!

If Nature has made you for a giver, your hands are “born open, and so is your heart; and though there may be times when your hands are empty, your heart is always full, and you can give things out of that—warm things, kind things, sweet things—help and comfort and laughter—and sometimes gay, kind laughter is the best help of all.”

-A Little Princess

Deandra also said in her video that people tried to label her for her outside look, but she said, “I am Deandra Forrest BEFORE anything.”  If you are a giver…be a giver FIRST. If you are creative…be creative FIRST!

This fact blows my mind: Of the 7.6-ish BILLION people on this earth, not one of us is exactly like the other…inside or out! Yet how many of us have spent precious hours fretting about being too “different” or wanting to fit in.

We are ALL different AND exactly who were are supposed to be.

The question is…

Will you choose to spend your time trying to be, look, or act like someone else?


Will you choose to embrace your: weight, color, gender, skin type, gifting, and talents and celebrate them by being the best version of YOU that you can be?

Stand out like you were MADE to! Be brave. Be you, and I’ll be m,e and she’ll be…well FHB.

Celebrating our own kinds of different, 

FHB and Especially Me