Three years ago my friend could neither speak nor walk nor even feed herself.
Some said her condition was helpless. I stood by her – ready to comfort and encourage.
Little by little she came to trust me - to believe that her needs would always be met,
that I loved her just for herself.
Little by little she began to find that she could help herself.
She took pleasure in each small achievement, but she clung to me the more fiercely
when she saw that I was as pleased as she.
The going was not always easy.
Often she was tired and irritable in the evenings. I felt cranky myself then.
It seemed as if she were daring me to go on calling her my friend.
I sometimes felt like walking out on her, even though she begged me to stay.
Other times she was bored and frustrated by her immobility.
I couldn't count the hours I spent rubbing her back,
reading to her,
talking to her.
But it was worth every minute. My friend is well on her way to becoming a whole person now.
Because I was there when she needed me, she thinks the world is one great place to be.
Because someone else believed in her, she now believes in herself.
Her achievements are impressive: she has learned to speak a new language,
can walk almost as well as I, and has recently found several new friends.
She'll soon forget how much I've done for her these last three years,
but I didn't do it for the thanks I'd get.
I did it for the joy of seeing a human being secure in herself, loving life, and free, now,
to share her love with others.
My friend is three years old.
She is my daughter.
Journal of the Canadian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, 1978