Yesterday while waiting for Boo in therapy there was a little boy who was walking around, in his own world and knocking on the walls. He was beautiful. It occurred to me at that exact moment that if I didn’t have Boo in my life I might not have noticed how absolutely beautiful.
I would have looked away.
I would have thought to myself what is wrong with that boy?
I would think, yuck look at that drool.
I would not have spoken to his mom, thinking I was sparing her embarrassment.
I would have been wrong and heartless and selfish. Because I would have thought to myself thank God Allie is ‘normal’.
Thankfully, I have Boo.
So I saw the beauty in the way the little boy comforted himself by knocking on the wall. I looked into his eyes and saw the light shining inside. I recognized his drool and realized it was because he was concentrating so hard. I spoke to his mom, asked how old he was, what school did he go to.
I made small talk.
Not about her son being in different, but how he was the same.
In that moment I was thankful that Boo had made me a mom with special needs.
I remember when I was pregnant and told that due to my “advanced” age my baby was at higher risk for birth defects (hate that word now), Down syndrome and a host of other scary things.
I opted for just the blood test and told God I could handle Down syndrome. But nothing scarier. Why Down syndrome? Not because I knew a lot of about it, but because children and adults with Down syndrome were the least scariest to me. I saw them in the playground, the market, in my life. “It” seemed manageable.
By the way, I realize how arrogant and condescending that sounds. Bear with me.
When the geriatric tests came back negative, I was relieved and moved on with my pregnancy. Then Boo was born and I learned that it doesn’t matter what your child was born with, a trip to the NICU is beyond scary. At that time I thought it was the scariest thing I would ever go through. Boy was I wrong.
It is also enlightening.
Being Boo’s mom has opened my eyes and my heart. I am a better person because I am a card carrying citizen of Our Land. When I see a child (or adult) not acting typical, I do not jump to the conclusion that the child needs discipline. When I see a parent at the end of their rope in the grocery store, I reach out to them.
I learned that by never hiding Boo’s light I am opening our family and friend’s hearts to others in the community. Most of them have now banished the word retard. They are teaching their children to do the same.
My friendships are now more meaningful and important. I have become more vocal and more of an advocate. I have gained friends that I would never have come into contact. I have become more outgoing and outspoken. I certainly wouldn’t have begun blogging. Blogging opened up a whole new world of laughter and support.
All because of Boo.
Do I have moments when I wish that Boo had been born “typical” or with what I thought I could handle? Sometimes, but only because then I would have a tour guide who would know what path to take.
Yet I wouldn’t trade this undiagnosed journey for the world.
Beautiful, Kerri! It brought tears to my eyes.
It's amazing how God gives us these challenges that we dread, that we think we absolutely cannot handle, and we find out how good they are for our lives. They help us grow and become better people, and appreciate the beauty in the world. Boo is such a beautiful little girl! I am so glad to have found your blog and Kristi's (the Our Land series is so eye-opening and amazing to me). We need more people like you guys in this world. 🙂
Absolutely beautiful post 🙂 What a great gift you have in Boo 🙂
This is a beautiful post. Special needs is an ever changing, seldom easy journey. Taking the time to acknowledge how it has been beneficial I think keeps us from getting caught in a negative thinking cycle. I love reading/hearing how it has been positive for other parents and caregivers.
Beautiful post, I'm in tears here, too…
Reading your blog and others like it does more good than you can ever imagine. Partly because of you all, I see people very differently than I used to. I used to be afraid to talk to a mom or the child with special needs, not knowing what to do or say. Reading of so many different moms and kids gives me a perspective I never had before, and it shows in the way I act out in the world, where I come across all kinds of kids. Thank you.
This post is wonderful and so happy that Boo has brought such light and “enlightenment” into your life. You are a very special mom and friend 🙂
Isn't it interesting how we get what we need. I used to think that people who couldn't conceive should just get counselling to deal with it and be thankful they had each other. So guess what I got – years of trying for a baby, including a miscarriage. And before that miscarriage, because I was also a geriatric mother, I had planned to have every test in sight. Afterwards, I said no to everything except a scan.
All of this made me appreciate my children so much more, so I can understand your sentiments here. What a lovely gift you have in Boo. And thank you for such an honest post!
Wow, Kerri. You did it again, friend. Awesome and wonderful. I, too, had the amnio. I'm embarrassed to say now that when I passed I asked the doctor “So he's not going to be retarded?” What did I know? Nothing. Tucker and Boo (and the boy at the dr. office) are beautiful and perfect as they are. I love this.
I feel the same way Christine does, but she said it so eloquently I'm not going to say it again. You and Boo, Kristi and Tucker, and all the other moms who write so honestly about their children – you have all made my heart and mind grow.
yes. yes. I love that you share your thoughts like this and give us a peek into your world…which is beautiful.
I worked in a Children's Hospital and had the honour of meeting some pretty awesome kids. I don't understand why children are treated like they were invisible. A wave. A hello. A “That is a lovely xyz you have on”…we are all the same.
Only some people are cooler.
Your post gave me chills. It is easy to be arrogant, when you are on the outside. But you have brought up such a good point about being arrogant: We miss SO much beauty when we are arrogant! I feel sad for people like that now. They are missing out on so much!