What is normal anyhow? Having special needs doesn't make me special - by Forgetful Dad

Jodi & Corey Shaw | rantsnrascals.com

 

I hear it every time I'm out with my son.  Every time we encounter someone new who learns about him.  They look at him as though somehow if they look hard enough they will see something more than we have described, because it's not apparent. They look at me the same way.  

It seems that when a person learns someone has special needs or disabilities.  They are trying to view or see what those are, as if it will always be apparent "physically" but that isn't always the case.

"He looks so normal. I'd never be able to tell he has Cerebral Palsy or that anything was wrong with him."

That's because nothing is wrong with my son!  He is normal.  His normal.  

  • Sometimes his legs get weak.
  • Sometimes he walks on his toes.  
  • Sometimes he's up all night long because the pain is severe and we rub his feet and legs to help ease his discomfort.

Sure Trace can be particular about things.  He doesn't like it when you shake his yogurt to cause bubbles.  Bubbles are a big "no no" for him.  

  • He likes certain pillow cases and pillows to sleep with.  
  • He doesn't like to be cuddled, and if you take bite of his food before giving it to him, he won't eat it anymore.  

But that doesn't mean he's not normal.

I get it too.  People look at me and only see what is on the outside.  How can he have a severe Brain Injury?  He doesn't look like there is anything wrong with him.  It makes me angry sometimes, when my feelings are connected enough to feel angry.

Just what is normal anyhow?

Physically I appear healthy which I'm not.  I suffer with Bursitis in my hip and arthritis in my hands and legs.  I go to sleep every day and when I wake up I pretty much forget everything that happened the day before.  

But am I normal?

  • Well I like football and hockey.  
  • I enjoy eating cottage cheese and roast beef sandwiches.  
  • I put ketchup on everything which drives Jodi crazy!  
  • And I love to sit and play games on Facebook rather than social network or visit blogs and websites, the way my wife does.  

Am I normal?

Having special needs doesn't make me special.  I was dealt a hand and I live with it, just like my son does.  I put one sock on at a time and put one foot in front of the other to get where I'm going.  I may not always arrives in the same fashion as everyone else, but that doesn't mean I don't get to my destination.

Maybe people should stop looking for something to be wrong, something they can physically see or deal with themselves.  It would be nice if when people looked at my son they saw what I do and what my wife does.  

  • A kid who lovesssss music.  
  • A kid who enjoys riding his bike which he just learned to do.  
  • A kid who will tell you what he wants when he wants it and who sometimes doesn't always appear loving but totally is.
  • A kid who loves his Hot Wheels and Transformers and has an imagination that blows our minds.
  • A kid who helps his old man remember when I can't.
  • A kid who is truly one of the most remarkable human beings I've ever known. Like his brothers (all my boys) he's incredible!
“My whole life I wanted to be normal. Everybody knows there's no such thing as normal. There is no black-and-white definition of normal. Normal is subjective. There's only messy, inconsistant, silly, hopeful version of how we feel most at home in our own lives. But when I think about what I have, what I strived to reach my whole life, it's not the biggest or best or easiest or prettiest or most anything. It's not the Manor or the laundry closet. Not the multi-million dollar inheritance or the poorhouse. It's not superstardom or unemployment. It's family and love and safety. It's bravery and hope. It's work and laughter and imperfection. It's my normal.”  - Tori Spelling

 

Tori has it right. There is no such thing as normal. No such thing as perfect. Perhaps that is what perfection truly is. Loving someone with everything you have despite what you may see as wrong and accepting them for who they are.

If only our world could embrace that. Then both my son and I would be the most normal people you would ever meet.

Comments

In order to comment on BlogHer.com, you'll need to be logged in. You'll be given the option to log in or create an account when you publish your comment. If you do not log in or create an account, your comment will not be displayed.