Thursday, April 15, 2010
I've written before about the widening gap between typical and non-typical, how as Rojo gets older the discrepancy between what he and his peers are doing gets larger. Much, much larger. Whole days go by now when I'm able to obsess about all kinds of things beyond the gap, and then, BAM, when I'm just sitting there minding my own business, someone/something will remind me.
Because Rojo's been in a small school since kindergarten, with little "turn over," most of the kids are used to him, or quickly become so. He lives in a bubble and we like it that way. An argument may be made that we are not preparing him for the "real" world. We aren't really interested in that argument. We've long ago let go of words like "real," "normal," and "usual."
A few nights ago the weather was gorgeous, the neighborhood school's lawn freshly mown, and there were hours left of daylight. Rojo put on his extra-small San Francisco 49-ers football helmet, grabbed his extra-large calculator and his stuffed Patriot's football I won for him in an arcade, and we headed to the field to play football. Two little league teams were practicing in the two diamonds, so we found a remote spot far out of their way, and in little danger of being hit by a ball.
I brought along the FURminator and a bag to put all the excess hair in, and Flicka and I spread out happily on the grass nearby. Rojo was in a zone, in every sense of the word. Coaching, cheering, commenting, being the band, players on both teams and the ref. Heaven.
One of the coaches ran a drill and had all the kids, third graders I'm guessing, run from the baseball diamond to the far away bench, roughly two feet from the three of us. Some little bastard child saw Rojo playing in the helmet, and decided to announce it to God and the universe. "Hey! That kid is wearing a football helmet! Look, everyone, he's wearing a football helmet!" Then he turned to me and said, "Why is he wearing a football helmet?" I am telling you, people, it was all I could do not to rip him a new one. Every low vibration known to man was mine at that exact moment.
I tightly said, "He's just having fun."
And while this experience didn't set me back for days, or even weeks, like it might have at one time, it did reinforce for me that Operation Bubble will continue through high school. What we've helped to create for him in K-8, a place of acceptance, of tolerance, of understanding and of compassion, is what we are looking for in high school.
Hear that, universe? Mary? God and all the angels in heaven?
*Photo from www.crystalclearinsights.ca