“Tell your mom I need to talk to her before you leave.”
Please tell me I’m not the only mom who receives that message from her child and sinks a little. Come on. I figure either (a) someone wants me to do something (which I likely won’t want to do) or (b) my kid did something (that I likely don’t want to hear).
I shouldn’t overthink everything.
It wasn’t a or b. He told me this:
“I joined the kids at recess today to play kickball and was so in awe of your daughter. One of our autistic kids wanted to play but didn’t get it. His aide was there helping him, but it just wasn’t working. He’d kick the ball but couldn’t grasp what to do next. Ashlyn was amazing; she went right up to him, stood by home plate, and told him to hold her hand. She ran with him around the bases. The aide and I were stunned. It was just amazing, and I just wanted to tell you that.”
I remember a time (okay…many times) I overthought something else. We have a son with some special needs. For years, our family has ebbed and flowed by his needs. Is that fair to our other children? Enter adoption, a special needs adoption, and the addition of another child (this time by choice) who would have some special needs that would require a bit more from us. How would this affect our son who already had his own struggles? What about our other two? Was this fair?
When that teacher shared that one little story, I realized I had always asked the wrong question. It’s not about being fair. That question itself implies that our “average” kids were losing out on something, denied something owed them. There’s a better question: Is it right?
Is it right for our children to learn to be flexible, to learn that their needs don’t always come first? Is it right for our children to learn that God has made each one of us differently and uniquely? Is it right for our children to learn to defend the weak and come alongside the hurting? Is it right for our children to learn to die to themselves for the sake of another?
We’re a family. We’re all here, each one of us with unique needs, some a bit more challenging than others, but we’ve all got unique needs. From my vantage point as I count the heads around our dinner table and tuck each one in at night, it’s all just right.