We were invited to a birthday party a few months ago of a little boy close to Christian's age. It was at a park.
Christian is getting bigger and not looking like a baby so much so we get a lot of stares. We have a safe little bubble, our family, his school, of people who know him and love him. But when we step outside of the bubble it's glaringly apparent that Christian is different. Those who stare the longest and even make comments or look terrified are usually kids, mostly boys, that are pre-teen, around the ages of 8-10.
So you can imagine why I might have felt a little anxiety about going to a party...at a park...full of kids. This feeling isn't like me. I'm usually brave. But I've started to feel small in these situations. I really shouldn't. Kids get stared at all the time for all sorts of reasons. But when it's your kid - your baby - it's different. It's a knife in your chest.
But I'm not one to let any situation hold us back, even if it makes us uncomfortable. I faced it head on with a little prayer to God to get me through the ordeal and take care of us.
I know it seems like I was making a bigger deal out of it than it should have been but sometimes things hit and you don't know why or when. They're sensitivities that you don't even know exist until you're faced with it head on and it makes you question any and all healing of your own psyche that has taken place thus far. Grief is never truly over. Anyone who has grieved over something will tell you that.
Take, for instance, tonight. I put all of the Christmas decorations away and that always causes such introspection and thought about where we were last year, where we'll be next time we pull all these ornaments out again. But tonight I had to put away all the little Baby Christian ornaments. The one of him on a rocking horse that says, "Baby's First Christmas." The photo of him on his first visit with Santa. Little goodbyes. Of course, any mother gets sad reminiscing about her babies' firsts but this is different. It cuts different.
Anyway, I'm on a tangent.
Back to the park. We went to the party. I was my happy and merry self so as to make sure nobody was uncomfortable or sad for this child who was clearly disabled. There were so many kids there. So many. It was a park on a Saturday, go figure.
And just when I thought this whole shindig would be okay, no harm done, one of those damn kids had to say something. Not from the party. Those kids were fine. It was a random kid, a boy, around ten. He was talking to his mom and she was talking to him about Christian because her younger son took an interest in befriending him. She quietly asked her older son if he knew why Christian was the way he was (as if she knew), and he said, "Yeah! That's what happens when kids get sick and die."
His mom was embarrassed and tried to correct him in hushed tones and they were a little too far away from me to correct. That, or maybe I just wasn't feeling all that brave.
I swallowed it and headed toward the swings with Christian. They were swings adapted for special needs and another mom was there with her daughter. When she saw us coming she told her able bodied daughter to get off the swing so Christian could get on but she lingered nearby. I scooped up Christian and went to go sit with him on my lap since there wasn't much support in the swing for him. It would be quite the maneuver trying to sit down into a moving swing with him in my arms. I started to back up and out of the corner of my eye saw the lingering mom move quickly over to our intended swing, reach out an arm, and stabilize the swing so I could carefully sit down without falling on my ass. I thanked her and she looked me in the eyes, smiled, and said, "You're welcome."
We swung. We flew. He smiled and the rest of the park kind of faded for a bit.
The rest of the party was fine, uneventful even. We made it through in one piece and the world didn't end. My little prayer was answered, we were taken care of.
In this New Year look around you. Does someone need comforting? Is there a friend that needs you to listen for a little while? Can you do something for someone else just to be nice? Are you kind? Even online? I heard this somewhere else but if you aren't kind on the internet, you are not kind.
Is there someone that needs you to open their door? Maybe there's someone who needs you to hold her swing so she can swing with her son.
In 2014 take care of each other.
13 hours ago