If you google the definitions of normal, you get all kinds of results. My favorite is number 3 from Webster https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/normal – “occurring naturally.” In society that is not what we think of, is it? Nope, we think normal is just like everyone else. We do everything we can to be normal and to make our kids normal.
Normal is overrated! There is a Dr. Seuss quote that reads, “Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” I think more of us should adopt this state of mind. Celebrate who we are naturally. I have found that if you own it, others will take notice and respect it. It’s when we try to hide our natural selves or try to fit into a mold that is not us at all, that people react negatively.
Yes, there are certain things that we do have to adjust—no picking our noses, scratching ourselves, or running around naked in public. But if you naturally want to sit and stare out a window instead of talking with a group, if you prefer to dance even when there is no music, or maybe you make silly sounds, if that’s who you are, own it.
We tried really hard to be a “normal” family and do “normal” things (birthday cakes, shopping on weekends, etc). These things didn’t fit us. Casey could not eat by mouth and had no interest in cakes. When we would go out at crowded times, we couldn’t hear if she needed to be suctioned. Or if we did hear her and went to suction, finding a quiet and clean space to do this was never easy and came with all kinds of stares.
We quickly gave up on “normal.” We did things that worked for us. Once we did, life was so much easier and better. Birthday parties were about being with friends, not cakes. When we would go out, we would go when there were no crowds. We went to places that we knew Casey would enjoy. We stopped trying to do all the things our friends and family were doing and started doing the things that felt natural to us.
Don’t worry about everyone else, just focus on your kids and what makes you happy as a family. I promise you’ll be so much happier when you let go of “normal.”
Parenting a child with a disability can be one of the most joyful and rewarding experiences. It can also bring stress and anxiety. Increased, sustained levels of stress and anxiety can have negative effects on parents and their children.
Categories: Family Support