Monday, April 7, 2014

Books and Covers and Gymnastics

The two big kids started a beginner's gymnastics class a few weeks ago and they are loving it.  Tonight in the waiting room, I noticed another mom outside the windowed door to the preschool gym.  I quickly inventoried her supple boots, slim jeans, cute bangle bracelet, flawless makeup (me: worn Levis, flats, muffin top but cute haircut and necklace so bonus) and subconsciously filed her under MOM > SUCCESSFUL, PUT TOGETHER and left it at that.  Pretty much not me, very much in the working file of MOM > HOMEMAKER >FRAZZLED, SOMEWHAT FRUMPY BUT TRIES OCCASIONALLY.

I moved to the bench next to her a few minutes before class ended to peek on my kids as they did a circuit.  I noticed J only wanted to do the "high" beam station, and kept shortcutting to return to this line.  I had to laugh and said something like, "That's your brother," to Rachel.

The pretty mom I was sitting by noticed Rachel, asked her age and remarked on her cuteness as you do with toddlers. Hearing my remark, she asked if that was my son.  "Yes, the one in dark grey... He's autistic... sometimes he has trouble following the instructions," I answer.

"That's my daughter," she points out.   I noticed her little girl on the low beam in a black leotard and sparkly peach gauzy skirt.  Petite and adorable.

Her mom tells me this little girl is missing half her brain, and thus has speech and learning delays, as well as hearing loss.

This woman is like me on the inside.

In the next few minutes, we share bits of our stories.  Her, how her daughter now has 20 words.  How she loves the little boys in her class.  How she's struggling to keep up in her special needs class, and is moving to another school.

Me, and homeschooling and therapies and learning to toughen up.  Sharing about a new language app that she might be interested in.

Both of us with that thing in our voice.  The love and the unknown and the vulnerability.

"But she's great," she assures me, after initially sharing the diagnosis.  "That's right.  That's right," I respond, recognizing my own tag line.

Our children have hidden disabilities.   Hers wears sparkles.  Mine wears button downs and sweater vests on Sundays.  We are careful to put their best foot forward.

We see their insides, which the world cannot.

And I'm reminded:

Snap judgements are alwaysALWAYSalways wrong.

We are more alike on the inside than we know.


Jennie said...

Beautiful. Because no other word will do.

Deanne Young said...

I love this sweet I shared it with a coworker.

Jaybird said...

Thank you both for your encouragement!

David and Kate said...

love it!!

And I am pretty frumpy too these days :)