I am sure we all have heard the expression its a small world, this usually happens when you meet someone who knew someone and they knew your neighbor….and this happened while you vacationed some 500 miles away from home….or when a tragedy strikes so much of what we THINK is important is reduced to such a small size that soon you find the stars of Hollywood right along side everyone else helping, donating and caring…the sudden common denominator so present…that we are all people, we are all together in this thing called life.
Having said that…if I were to ask you to make of list of what you did not like in life and we were to compare them, I am sure your list would be different from mine. Oh, sure we might share a dislike of one or two things, especially if your list contains, snakes, white chocolate (what is that made of REALLY?) and the sight of worms on a driveway after a rain…..okay anyway, my point is that we are all different and what makes me different makes me unique. The same as it does you and you and you….
I guess I am leading to the point that if we are all different, and yet in many ways the same what really makes for the definition of normal. NORMAL, a word of only 6 letters but to me and to all those who have child with special needs that word might as well be screamed at you at every turn of our day. If you are at all like me, you have heard it used in one or more comparisons of your child’s behavior, development, language or social skills. And usually not in the positive way. Such comparisons start to train us, the parents or caregivers, to see normal as the goal we are to work towards, to be something we need to achieve. I know I am guilty of letting that be my thinking at many times. But just the other day, I was clicking around on facebook and I saw a post about dyspraxia and how it can affect this area or that area and how a child could show this sign or that sign. And as I read them all and sort of “a la carted” my list of which ones Elizabeth has or had, it all just made me think.
Here under a broad heading of dyspraxia is all this information, and my child’s list will look different than the next and so on …but they all have the disorder. So, if this holds true, then what does make up NORMAL behavior, does laughing and joking in a grocery store, done by a group of teenages, seem abnormal, or just kids having fun. But if done by one of our children, does it then seem abnormal? I don’t know the way others feel but I will admit, due to my being conditioned for so many years, I don’t really know how I feel. Does a person chatting with someone in line at a store seem “normal” or is it considered something else if the person who started the chatting has special needs. I toss this out as a question to ponder.
We are all unique and as such our children who have special needs are in my opinion just more unique. They have certain ways or needs that make them this. Perhaps we, as a world, need to let go of the expectation of normal, and allow some of the uniqueness in others to be accepted.
I offer this thought out as both a parent of a special needs child, and as a person that probably needs to adopt this philosophy a bit. more. I so worry how others will view and then treat Elizabeth, if they are staring at her, or talking down to her…. not for me, but for her. I NEVER want to see her the hurt look in her eyes, or even worse lose any of the wonderful, fun ways that make Elizabeth Elizabeth. I KNOW who she is, I KNOW what she can do, that she is smart, funny and so loving. I also know her disorders can mask these things I KNOW and so the world and its concern for NORMAL can make me feel like I need to protect her, to always be on guard.
I want to adopt this thinking so I, we can be less on guard and more peaceful. Our children have brought and continue to bring us so many gifts, that can never be wrapped, they bring a perspective to life that so many others don’t arrive at until late in life or after a near-miss tragedy. We, through our children, have learned to appreciate so much more.
I wish you all a good week, a peaceful week…and for myself as well a week full of some more relaxed thinking.