As I walked to my son’s classroom this afternoon I overheard a boy in his class saying “A miracle has happened! Lochan is going away for a year!”. He was being mean. I could hear it through his voice and I confirmed it later. It hurt like a dagger through my heart to hear my son spoken about in this manner.
I knew my son is different. He has always challenged that bell curve. He has always challenged my yearning for the assurance of being normal. The mother’s questions I see so often posed “What is the normal growth for a baby? What is the normal amount of times a baby wakes at night? When is it normal for your baby to sleep through? How many poo nappies are normal? When can a child normally cut with a pair of scissors? How many words can a child normally say at this age?”
He challenged every bell curve. He forced me out of my linear and any box-like thinking that I still held. By the age of 5 he knew which types of cars had their spare wheels underneath them or in the boot. That is because we took half an hour to walk from our car to the shops…due to checking under each car for a spare tyre.
He was an expert in fish! And as many children swam on the water – he would spend as much time as he could with his face submerged – in the underwater world of the waterlife, defying gravity. He held his breath for eternity! When others learnt to swim on top he was quite happy swimming below.
And he became really good at drumming his own intricate signature beat.
Within minutes of meeting you – he would come and tell us who “Your Lord” is and the details of your diet. He is a proud vegetarian and easily and naturally challenged anyone who wasn’t. After meeting an elderly conservative lady one day, I came to get him – and found they were discussing if Jesus was vegetarian.
He did things his way. And that was so often NOT the way that the parenting books and ‘experts’ described…especially according to their timelines and scientifically backed milestones.
Some friends offered various forms of input – even a diagnosis of Aspergers! I gracefully declined. What could that help? A label? An expensive visit to a child psychiatrist who could prescribe a dangerous drug to help my child fit that deeply entrenched socially acceptable brand called “normal”.
The best advice that I always came back to was to TRUST. To trust him and his process. And to realise he was fine! Actually he wasn’t even ABnormal. And I found that guidance always demanding a deep settling acceptance in me. A deep relief that he was ok. I was ok. And actually this was all very special. I am learning to identify my projections, my unmet needs, my parenting definitions I carry with me, my expectations based on my lack of sleep, my sensitivities, my childhood experiences, my humanness.
I am learning again and again – to see the growing child in this overwhelming world we live in. I get the most strength and alignment with a sense of truth when I see how amazing my son is! He stands in his own space and is who he is – and demands a sense of integrity from you!
He is not competitive. He has nothing to prove. In a bicycle race everyone raced past eager to win, even crying afterwards if they came second and not first…he just cycled past merrily in his own time completely engrossed in enjoying the cycle and the view.
He easily plays with younger kids, girls, he does not judge or compare! He does not retaliate if hit – he is gentle. He knows about the soul, eternity and equality. He has faith and he is honest and true.
He told me very convincingly the other day, when I was encouraging him to do some card games (like other boys his age love to do) – “I am just not a card or game kind of boy. I am a car kind of boy.” He knows he needs to play.
He expresses his frustration and anger immediately and does not hold it in. He likes to sleep with one of us near. He is challenging and amazing. He has a bold plan to build a house in which the whole world can live and it will go around the whole world and he can describe in detail – each floor. There will be no need to have shops nor money as people will only eat what they grow.
If he does not shoot you down with his questions about your life – he will endear you with his intensity and fascination and imagination.
And he has taught me – to TrUsT.
It turned out that boy I overheard that day was probably expressing himself in a way to protect him from the emotions of a boy leaving their class. It was probably not personal but a way he was interacting with an older boy. He had expressed the opposite in the class just before. Anyway – whatever it was – it really allowed me to dive into an appreciation of my beautiful boy!
My son is not AbNormal. I cannot even indulge myself in labelling him as different! He is as unique and special and wonderful as every other child – as your child, as our neighbour’s child, as the child in the shopping queue in front of you!
That soapbox mould we somehow want our children to conform to (the social norms and expectations around us) actually do not exist, There is no soapbox mould. I would sometimes take solice in thinking “My child is different.” Actually he isn’t! He is a child.
And I hope I can do what will support, savour and love his awesome mind and growing body in the best way so his inner flame and passions remain true and glowing!