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.