Remember in the classic Christmas special “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” when Rudolph, Hermey (the misfit elf) and Yukon Cornelius stumble upon this island and see where the cast off, imperfect toys are housed? Of course the brood that discovers these toys is just as quirky and imperfect and yet after being vindicated and embraced by Santa, the elves, and the other reindeer, these unlikely heroes return to the island to find homes for all of these less-than-perfect toys. The island is a place where the toys that had no where else to go can live and find joy even as they long for someone to want them. Friendship reigns supreme and good humor too.
In many ways, my office is like the Island of Misfit Toys. I have created a place that is different and unconventional. One that although colorful and comfortable, doesn’t conform to the ‘normal’ doctor’s office. It is a physical space where I feel comfortable and myself; I feel it represents me and is welcoming. My staff too is much like the inhabitants of the Island of Misfit Toys. We are quirky and unique and flawed. We have come together with different strengths and weaknesses, different jobs and personalities and in this environment of acceptance and support we have become a family of sorts. I love that we are a close knit group. I love that we are flawed. I love that we feel like we actually fit in for once.
I hope this same feeling of open acceptance and celebration of differences is communicated to the parents and children who come to the office. Each parent has flaws and strengths, each child is both immensely lovable and challenging at the same time. Whether you are an all A student athlete or a struggling teenager with depression or a Downs syndrome child with heart defects, glasses and a contagious smile, you are welcomed and appreciated for who you are.
I love my little island.
Embrace your quirks, accept others, and find the gifts in everyone and each day will be your best!
Molly O’Shea, MD Birmingham Pediatrics + Wellness Center