‘Is your other kid normal?’
How would you feel if someone asked you that?
Before I let you know how I reacted to that I want to start by looking at the dictionary definition of ‘normal’.
According to The Oxford English Dictionary the word ‘normal’ means: conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected.
In other words this stranger was implying my son is not standard, or usual, or what was expected. He does not fit societies stereotypical idea of a seven year old. He is different. He is unique. To the stranger he stood out as exceptional and out of the ordinary.
Do you know how proud that makes me of my son?
I love that he is different. I love that he does things in his own way, at his own time and he has no concept of following the crowd. I delight in the ways he shows excitement by flapping, making high pitched noises and spinning. I smile when I watch him making his own delicacies like pizza with custard and yoghurt with mashed potato. I find it refreshing how he would rather watch lift doors than spend money on toys. I dance around with him in glee at watching yet another person use the hand dryers in the public bathrooms.
He is funny. He is loveable. He is energetic. He gets bored clothes shopping and thinks he knows better than me at times. Those are all ‘normal’ things that seven year old boys do!
He has brown hair, Hazel eyes and a love of technology. He is average height and weight for his age and even his shoe size is right on target!
So why would a stranger ask me if my other kid was normal?
She looked at my sons disability. She looked at the fact he is unable to speak. She looked at his poor balance, his different mannerisms and noises and she saw him as less, not conforming and not typical. Her question implied I should be sad for having such a unique child and craving a child without any such challenges. Maybe I should be sad I have to see to his every need at seven? Maybe I should be broken hearted he is not yet potty trained and not speaking?
I refuse to judge this stranger. Why? Well a part of me used to be there. My heart ached for the things my son could not do. My body ached pushing him around in a chair for all the years he could not walk. My ears would love to hear his voice.
Now I see my son differently. I see him as beautiful. I see him as wonderful.
He IS normal. His sister is normal too.
Normal according to the dictionary is conforming to a standard. If you see the standard as being human then there really is no such thing as not being normal.
So do you want to know how I replied?
I simply smiled and said softly ‘Yes. I am blessed with two amazing children. Thanks!’