What I've Learned

Joanna Campbell, Executive Director, past Chapter President, past District Director, past District Parent Chairperson, author, and most of all - mom                   

(I originally wrote this for my last newsletter as President of the Orange Blossom Chapter (Orange County,California) of LPA.  At the time, my daughter was 13 and it was April, 2006.  It’s now 2011 and she is in college, so I’ve added a few new thoughts at the end.) 


First and foremost, the time has come for those of us that re-started the OBC to pass the LPA-OBC baton to new families.   When Vicky Schulte and I re-started OBC more than 10 years ago, her daughter Michelle was just beginning kindergarten and my daughter Elizabeth was 2.   Michelle is now looking at colleges and Elizabeth is firmly involved in the middle-school/pre-teen world.  I remember, at the beginning, I couldn’t even think about her going to kindergarten!  My baby!  How would she do?  Turning her loose in the big world! No Way!

Well, both girls have grown up beautifully and I know a huge part of that is due to our involvement with LPA, both locally and nationally.  I have learned so much from my friends in LPA; average and lp, adult and kids.  Here are a few of the things I’ve learned. 

I have learned how to have grace when you really want to rip some strangers head off because they are being rude.

I have learned how to tell the difference between innocent curiosity and a person who is a jerk. 

I have learned to have patience when it takes longer to get places.

I have learned to focus on my children, husband and friends like there is no one else around when we are in public –  because no one else matters anyway. 

I have learned that sometimes it really stinks when the water park won’t let you on the slide you’ve done 12 times before,  but that the management will also give in (one time) when your whole class is chanting “Let her go!” behind him. 

I have learned to shop carefully for clothes and shoes.  

Through my adult lp friends I have learned when something is really an issue and when to let something go, and most importantly, when I was being foolish or overprotective or too sensitive. 

I learned to have a thicker skin – that’s probably one of the biggest lessons. 

I’ve learned that, for the most part, the world is a good place, but that once in a while, some comment, or accusation, or assumption will come out of the blue and take your breath away. 

I’ve learned that sometimes seemingly healthy people will end up with surgery no matter what. 

I’ve learned to be an advocate for my children which has carried over into being an advocate for my life and other family members as well.

I’ve learned not to be intimidated by doctors.

I’ve learned it’s not a question of “having” the time, it’s a question of “making” the time.  Everyone’s life is busy, but we make time for our priorities.

Personally, I’ve learned what my some of my skills are; how to put on a Regional and National Conference, how to organize an event, and how to run with an idea and make it happen.

I’ve learned to laugh and be proud of who each of us are.

I have learned that believing with every fiber of my being that my children will have a great life makes all the difference.

Life in 2011

Michelle has graduated college and Elizabeth has now begun – 8 hours away from home! Too far for my taste but we love the school. 

I have learned that high school is generally better than middle school – for everybody.

I have learned that siblings will cut you no slack and may be the greatest detractors, but will also be the biggest protectors and cheerleaders in your life.   

I have learned that when you are an LP, dancing at LPA dances is much more fun than dancing at high school dances - for a variety of reasons.  Elizabeth has learned that thanks to many years of LPA dances she can break out and win a dorm room dance off every time. 

I’ve learned that I can’t change the world, but I can affect the people I come in contact with, and overall I can work to raise great human beings, who happen to be my children. 

My wish for everyone who comes in contact with LPA – whether it be average-height parents or an lp child – is to find just one friend.  OBC re-started because Vicky and I became friends.  We started as women who had something in common (daughters with dwarfism), but then we became friends and created a relationship on our own, and now we are co-workers for LPA.  You never know how life is going to turn out. 

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