Sometimes, we meet somebody who changes one of our truths.
In a lifetime, we meet many. Some change what we advocate for, live for, and defend. Meeting others changes less significant things inside of us.
Each meeting matters though, because meeting and melding and letting in and letting out is evolution.
Sometimes, we meet people who mean that we change our last name, or a title at work.
In a lifetime, we may meet a mentor who takes us from mediocre to amazing, or who helps us to realize that we don’t actually want a desk job after all.
We come across a shelter dog who teaches us about rescuing him as he rescues us. We wonder whether animals have souls. Sometimes, we wonder whether humans do, too.
We wake one day and realize that each of us has a story, and that every single one of us has both terrible and magical things in our rearview mirrors.
That each of us has the power to make others feel dismissed and awful, or seen and loved.
We see the power of telling our stories. Of sharing.
Of being more alike than different.
One day, we realize that meeting people with special needs makes us better.
“I can’t wait to meet you,” I whispered to my engorged belly. I imagined a little boy standing near our front door, ready to go outside. I could almost hear his toddler Muppet voice, “I’ll carry the ball, Mommy!”
I was on bedrest for the entire second half of my pregnancy, and had a lot of time (too much time) to think about the son I’d raise.
How I’d be the cool mom. Our home would be the one to refuel neighborhood kids with juice boxes and sliced oranges like the ones my teammates and I ate after soccer games when I was young.
What I didn’t, or maybe couldn’t imagine back then, was how much meeting my son would change my truth.
Once, I was Kristi all the time.
Still, I am Kristi, but am most often addressed as Mommy.
Knowing him helped me to see that people communicate fully and completely without ever saying a word.
He is the one who helped me remember that fun, if you’re willing to see it, is kicking a pile of snow, weighing a pumpkin on a scale, or filling a sink with bubbles.
Because of my son, I take the time to chat with those I used to feel uncomfortable around. Those with disabilities, speech issues, body control issues. People.
Meeting my little boy meant that in some ways, I met more of the world. Thinking about his future helps me to think about the future of this planet. Of our government. Of fairness, and a world filled with empathy and wonder.
In many ways, meeting my son meant meeting myself. Yes, it meant meeting the me who parents him, dries tears and fields boogers with kleenex rather than a shirt, but it also meant meeting the me I want to be.
I am and will always be Kristi who likes to tell stories, eat nachos, and swim deep in the ocean with fins.
There’s so much out there, and in me. In all of us.
When I say that meeting my son meant meeting myself, I don’t mean that I didn’t exist before being a parent, because I did, and always will.
There’s a lot out there that talks about how parenting a child with special needs opens our eyes to the world. And that’s true – it is.
But it’s also true that parenting any child helps us hear the cries of all children, and all people, because while knowing that suffering and exclusion exist for others as a caring human is a real and wonderful thing, parenting one of those humans who will one day navigate the world without us helps us to hear other voices more clearly.
So while I say that meeting my son meant meeting myself, I don’t mean that there isn’t life before parenting. I know people who will never be parents who are much more self-aware than I am or ever will be.
There is, and will always be booger-wiping and nose-blowing. There will always be unforgettable moments of intense levity and insurmountable grief.
Meeting my son helped me to see that in him, in myself, and in all humans.
Well…maybe not so much of the value and levity in Voldemort.
Wait, you know what? I see the value in Voldemort, too. Because without him, who would Harry Potter really be?
Without the people we meet, would we be able to change our truths, alone?
This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. This week’s sentence is “The people we meet…” and I totally planned on talking to you about meeting my bio mom, blog friends, and the moms at the bus stop, but as life does, writing happens as it happens.
This week’s sentence thinker-upper is Mardra Sikora. I met her and her awesome son Marcus (author of Black Day – remember Tucker’s favorite Halloween book? I did a review and give-away?) in real life recently, and we talked about posts about the people we meet. Because the people we meet change us, right?