Sunday, March 9, 2008

What I Already Knew But Needed To Hear

I ran into a friend of ours at the Girl Scout Tasting Bee the other day, a guy who Baroy just adores, and who returns that regard. One of this guy's three kids is almost three years younger than N, and N's polar opposite. While N had to be almost literally dragged into the loud and bewildering Tasting Bee by his ear, my friend's boy was doing everything but rolling in the chaos, in an attempt to get more, hear more, feel more.

The funny thing is that these two boys, though separated by three years and miles of temperament, absolutely love hanging out together. As soon as little E saw N was there, he
started engaging him in a game of chase, and soon they were tearing up the place together, though N made frequent pitstops to bury his face in my legs and collect himself before heading into the melee again.

At one point I made an apologetic face at this friend, J, as N interrupted us once more while hiding from little E. "It's just too much for him in here," I said, "what with his sensory issues and all."

"What issues?" J shot back and, without waiting for me to respond, went on to elaborate. "N and little E don't have issues; they have ways of coping with their world. We're the ones with the issues, the ones doing all the fretting and wondering and worrying. They're just living their lives."

Later on, J wanted to take a picture of N and little E, and N grew suddenly shy, popping his thumb into his mouth. I told him to take it out, but he refused, and I became annoyed and a little embarrassed. J, noticing my upset, said to little E, "Hey, E, why don't you suck your thumb, too?" E, giggling, put his thumb in his mouth; this made N giggle, too, and J took a shot of two happy boys who happen to be sucking their thumbs. As he was putting his camera away, J looked at me and said, "Your son is going to own this world some day. Don't make him try to change to fit the world; let the world change to fit him."

Both of those scenes, and J's words, simplistic and even somewhat trite though they are, have stuck with me all week. Whether or not they're ultimately true, they've brought me seven days of calm and coping, and that alone is priceless.


kristenspina said...

In moments of clarity, I see it too. I think, why should my son have to change to accommodate the pre-conceived notions of others? And then there are the other days, the days when everything feels wrong and I feel weak and I think, why can't it just be "normal", even though I don't really know what normal is.

Your friend is very wise. We all need those reminders and friends who are not afraid to say, stop worrying, everything is as it should be.

po said...

That brought tears to my eyes, because yeah, that's wise and wonderful. But no one who has not had a child with "issues" can really understand what it's like to watch your child suffer daily, because unfortunately the world is VERY disinclined to change to accommodate their differences, especially as they get older. So it's really not just "our problem" (meaning us parents of said kids).

Heidi said...

Kind of awesome what a tweak in perspective can do. Thanks for giving me mine today.

Lisse said...

Another one with tears in her eyes.

And what Po said rings true as well. It just kills me that things that we see as normal Pumpkin behavior sometimes freaks out the other adults he encounters who then immediately want to label him autistic.

They may own their own worlds someday, but navigating the outside world is what we gett to help them with in the meantime.