It’s been a crazy few weeks here but we’re finally back at the keys. We bought a house, scrambled to sell our house, had a sick baby which coincided with a million people traipsing through our open houses, got a bunch of offers, had a small bidding war, and then fled the country. Well, maybe that’s a bit dramatic but pretty darn close actually.
For our 7th wedding anniversary and my big 3-0, my sweet husband booked a getaway to the lovely island of St. Lucia. A great surprise and a good call on hubby’s behalf to recognize my severe vitamin D deficiency after a stupid Boston winter.
Now we’ve traveled a bunch, this was seriously Cade’s 20+ flight in his short almost 13 months and his second international destination, but a one year old? Well that’s a whole different story. And he’s not even walking yet. But wanting to be caged, I assure you he let the whole plane know how he felt about his seat assignment. After delays and running through terminals and absentee Hertz agents, we found our way to our island home and breathed a deep sigh of relief. Our hotel room was bigger than our current home. And that is not an exaggeration. It apparently came with the JetBlue getaways package. And although it looked like it was fit for a king it certainly didn’t cost it. It was wonderful. A bathroom for each of us. 🙂 Cade had his own room which he refused to sleep in. So in our over-sized room with our over-sized bed, mom and dad got jabbed with his little nubs all night.
Day one he hated the beach. Day two he loved it. Phew. I almost thought we had the wrong baby for a moment given my extreme LOVE for said ocean, waves, and sand in my toes. We knew once we arrived, after forgetting the travel torture, that it would be wonderful and it was. What neither of us was prepared for was how refreshing honest curiosity is.
You see we live in a society, in amazing America where people try to not offend others ALL DAY LONG. People apologize, walk a tight rope of public opinion and if you ever wanted to scare the pants off someone, well, you just say you’re offended. You can’t say certain words because that might offend certain people and you can’t wear certain things because, well that might be construed as offensive. That means you see something different…out of the ordinary, different than your normal and you stare (which is not wrong in and of itself) but you realize your error and QUICKLY, like a cat thrown into a swimming pool, glance away. We’re told to not stare after all, it’s rude. But it’s usually too late right? We see you. We see you recognize a difference, a deficiency and then try to correct your perceived error of perception. What if we turned it into a chance for conversation. How refreshing that would before all the momma’s out there who have little ones who are “different”. I’ve watched in mild amusement as old ladies sweetly try to pinch my sweet boy’s prosthetic legs because he’s wearing pants and you just can’t tell and then they stop, and look horrified. Were they offensive they wonder. There my friend is where it stings. And where refreshing honesty in curiosity blooms into something beautiful.
Every single local we met at the resort and on the island, got down on Cade’s level, spoke gently, lovingly to him and then turned to us and asked, “what’s wrong with his legs?” WOW. What the heck do you say? Let me tell you. Honest conversations about real life about things that matter and shouldn’t be avoided or perceived as possibly offensive. Let me tell you how amazing my little boy is. Let me tell you his journey, where he’s at in his physical therapy, how we’ve changed with his blessed life’s existence. Let me show you what he can do. Clap for him. Cheer him on. We all have something wrong with us. Something different. It makes us unique humans. And after refreshing conversation after refreshing conversation they look at us, smile and say, “and he’s doing just fine and that’s all that matters.” Ahhh. Breath deeply my soul.
We’ve gotten use to people starring and recognize that it is a part of our innate curiosity as humans. Clearly our baby doesn’t have feet and when his mother usually forgets shoes and there is 3 ft of snow outside, yes, you have every right to take a double take. That in and of itself is not bothersome. But then please don’t look at me, realize your error in horror and avoid me like the plague. Embrace the conversation in the unique. Oh that we would all take a little more time and a little more interest in the unique and beautiful things in our paths. I bet we would learn a lot. I bet we would walk away changed and I bet children who physically look different would have more confidence and be more empowered to run a little further, skip, smile and dash through this earth with their own kind of wonderful.