"Typical" as defined: combining or exhibiting the essential characteristics of a group or conforming to a type.
For all of my life I have wanted to at least feel "typical". As though I belonged to the larger group of people that seemed to have it all together. I was always a little shy (ok a lot) and a little awkward (ok a lot) and felt a little out of place (ok a lot).
When I was 7 yrs old and in 1st grade I was walking into school during a particularly windy and snowy day and the wind blew so hard that I fell into the bike rack and hit my eye.
Massive shiner. But after it happened I didn't want anyone to know (um yeah right!) and went into school and sat down and tried to hide my crying. But this girl next to me- Missy White - raised her hand and in front of the whole class told the teacher that I was crying. Awesome.
The good part of that was that I ended up having to stay at home for a few days until the swelling in my eye went down and I got to use my Easy Bake Oven and make some tasty treats. The bad part was that even at that young age I knew that I was "different". I mean how many people do you know that have gotten a black eye from being blown over into a bike rack??
As I got older it didn't get much better....I so desperately wanted to be the pretty girl with the long beautiful straight hair.
Instead I had short and curly hair. I wasn't overly athletic and I couldn't do the V-sit and reach in P.E. I have tight hamstrings...my arms just couldn't stretch like that without feeling like my legs were tearing...but I digress.
And at one time I apparently rocked a mullet big time.
There just really aren't words adequate here....
In 6th grade - the same girl who "told" on me in 1st grade was having a big party and all of my friends were invited. But I wasn't...they wanted me to come and wanted to help me "impress" her at a football game that we were going to by wearing a really cool outfit.
This was my favorite outfit then...and it wasn't really football weather appropriate. But I wore it anyways and froze all night that particular Friday. And when it was all said and done, it just wasn't good enough. I never got the invite I wanted. :(
In 7th grade I was the first person to have braces AND glasses at the same time. (Although later this worked to my advantage when we started high school I was the 1st to have them off!) But you get the point. I just always thought others had "it" figured out and somehow I had missed the life training course.
Some of those things still linger with me today. I am not comfortable in big group situations. If it is work related I can handle it because I have something to talk about...but when it is a "social" situation I always feel out of place.
It is something that I had always hoped would be different for my kids because it was such a struggle for me....
When we found out that Gabriel was on the "spectrum" I worried about what growing up would be like for him. You can read about how I felt about the results here. Kids can be mean and I knew that Gabriel would probably never be "typical".
And at times he does struggle. He doesn't lose well at games and doesn't understand at times just how to enjoy the "typical" kid stuff - like choosing out a prize from a prize bag. He is very black and white and likes to follow the rules....and when others don't he points it out. Not exactly top on the "How to win friends" list.
But he has a passion for life that I often don't see in kids his age. Last year at school his teachers would comment that he is such a great kid to have in class because of his joy for school. He loved it. Always happy to be there and always grateful. When he would get a certificate for getting a 100% on his spelling test he would thank his teacher!
And he has an incredible heart for God and an interest in all things spiritual. Gabriel and I have many conversations about God and Heaven. He doesn't want anyone to go to "the bad place" - saying the real word is a naughty word according to Gabriel! :) And he prays for people that at times I didn't want to pray for because I didn't feel they deserved it. But Gabriel doesn't see it that way. Everyone should be able to go to Heaven according to him!
I love that about him. And so while I worry and obsess at times thinking about how I can make him more "typical" so that he can avoid the hurts of this world....I am reminded that I too have been and continue to be where he is.
And that is ok.
I think that is what I love most about blogging. I am able to say here what is on my heart without fear of judgement because I can't "see" your reaction as you read this. I don't feel quite as awkward hiding behind my computer as I do when I feel I have to try and impress you in person.
And so although I may not ever be "typical" I think that is ok.
Because through the bad hair and the clumsiness, the crooked and then straight teeth, the braces and glasses and just about every color of contact in between one thing has been constant in my life.
God has always been there.
I really felt His presence the first time that my mom took me to a Christian Women's Club meeting and I heard a woman share her story about feeling not "typical" and how God used her anyways...I wanted to be used by God in the same way.
And as I reflect on all of the things that I have experienced I know that each one has been an opportunity to grow. If I am willing to do so.
Maybe, just maybe being not "typical" is a blessing because I get to see the world through a different pair of glasses.
And I have to say that the view from here is pretty sweet!