The Belle of the Ball

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Alice

I watched as my client carefully applied her lipstick, resisting the urge to offer to do it for her. It’s that familiar balancing act between my desire to help and the need to foster and maintain my client’s independence. She looked beautiful.
Tonight was the big event! Her birthday dinner! A night out on the town! All day, we prepared for it. We picked out her outfit and jewelry. I shampooed and deep conditioned her hair. A stylist came over and curled and styled it for her. She would be the belle of the ball!

As we headed to the restaurant to meet her daughters, it occurred to me that this was one of those rare days when the stars aligned and everything went smoothly and everyone was happy. We even made it on time for the reservation.

I watched as the family laughed and bonded over oysters Rockefeller and shared childhood memories. There was such warmth and connection that I had a sudden pang to be with my own family, scattered over so many miles. I was deeply moved to be a part of this celebration.

It was a long night and by the end of it everyone was exhausted, but in a good way. For an entire day, the fact that my client lives with a disability was on the back burner. It wasn’t about her struggles. It was about her beauty. It was about celebrating her as a fantastic mother and grandmother, a loving wife, a wonderful friend. It was a reminder that we are all so much more than the sum total of our difficulties; that life is so much bigger than the challenges that we face. In this field, I call that a victory.