At one point in my life, being accepted was everything. In the 80’s, I permed my hair, wore fluorescent orange sweaters and pink Reeboks, blue eyeshadow, and a crappy attitude because that’s what was celebrated and included. None of those things made me especially popular, but I lived the norm and nobody in my high school called me weird. In college and after, they didn’t, either. At least, to my face.
When I was younger, I wanted to fit in. I still do.
It wouldn’t be authentic of me to say that I don’t continue to crave acceptance and inclusion.
I’m pretty sure that we all do. Owning a sense of community and belonging is vital to personal growth, to expanding our world views, and to finding empathy and wonder for situations that we would not come across on our own.
Having a village helps us to realize that we’re not alone despite age, economics, skin color, and sexual orientation. Having a village matters. It matters a lot.
When I started down the road of accepting that I’m the mom to a boy who has special needs, I felt really alone. Dark, scary, nobody-knows-what-I’m-going-through alone. It was frightening and isolating. Friends told me that my little boy would catch up. That he’d start talking any day. That maybe I’d contributed to his delays and that he wasn’t speaking because he didn’t need to. That I always knew what he wanted, and so he didn’t have to ask for it.
I wanted to believe them, and I did, for a while. Still though, words like autism and developmental delays circled my thoughts and my breaths and my everyday moments.
My son Tucker has come a long, long way over the past three years. Now, I’m no longer sure that autism is the word that fits him best, although it’s close and I find community there. I’ve found the village. I found it through his Preschool Autism Classroom (PAC) and I found it online – because of you guys. (thank you)
This journey of ours continues and will, for the rest of time. The fact that people along the way have not only embraced us and accepted us but said “me too!” has been monumental in my own acceptance. In realizing that I wouldn’t simply wake one morning to a little boy who is like his peers.
Through this village, I’ve also further embraced that my little boy is totally awesome, just as he is. I mean, I’ve known that he’s amazing all along, but it’s helped to find people who do not tell me that he’s too old to wear pull-ups at night, or that he’s too old to drink milk from a bottle.
I’ve also realized that sometimes, those people are right. He is too old to be hoisting a pull-up on each night. But it also doesn’t matter.
I think that the difference is that when typical children are deemed too old to wear a pull-up, the parents suffer through a few weeks of a wet bed and then it’s mostly done (I do not know this for a fact). With us though, while we’ve all decided that Tucker’s too old for a pull-up, changing that behavior is long. It’s a pain in the ass. It’s months and months of reinforcing the getting up to pee even when it’s “not an emergency.” It’s months and months and maybe a year of wet sheets and sleepless nights. It’s just plain harder.
(is there a point to this? yes!)
While I adore my village, I want to say that sometimes, I don’t care what you think. Or, maybe a better way to phrase that is that I care what you think, because I always care, but I don’t necessarily think that whatever you think pertains to us and our life, lived here fairly privately even when it feels like it’s all online.
I used to love acceptance. Today, I no longer feel like we should live our lives in order to please anybody but ourselves and the greater good.
This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. Today’s sentence that I REALLY struggled with (obviously) was “Something that I used to love and now hate is…”
Me: Kristi from Finding Ninee
Allie (this week’s sentence thinker upper) of The Latchkey Mom and Kelly of Just TypiKel. Want more info or want to join? Become a part of our Facebook group!