I had an interesting revelation tonight. At church, a young boy was holding Lily's hands, and Lily was being ornery with him, not letting his hand go, probably scratching him with the fingernails that we've needed to cut for a few days. Gabriel went up to Lily to help the poor boy and ended up rubbing her head a little roughly, playing with her. A friend laughed and commented on how people are usually so gentle with Lily, yet here we (her family) don't treat her with the same kid gloves.
As I was playing with Lily tonight, thinking about my friend's comment, it dawned on me how abnormal it must have seemed to her to see Gabriel be so rough with our delicate little Lily.
Then I thought how life with her feels so. . .normal.
I watched her hands as we played high-fives--how absurdly stretched out of their usual clenched fist position they are when we play.
I watched her eyes as they crossed, fighting the sleep that was trying to pull her under.
I heard her insanely loud coos, shattering the silence that we shared in the room by ourselves.
I gazed at her teeth--oh, those teeth--protruding from her relentless sleepy thumb-sucking.
I marveled at all of this and relaxed in what felt completely, 100% normal to me.
And I thought about how abnormal this all must seem to the untrained eye--to those who do not know and love Lily.
What seems abnormal to me are the stares we get when others recognize that Lily is not a typical seven year old. What seems abnormal to me are the snickers we get because Lily is different in their minds. It's uncomfortably abnormal. It's make-my-skin-crawl abnormal.
I don't blame them. Different is uncomfortable, and some people just don't know how to handle being uncomfortable. When I come across those differences, I think about all the amazing people out there who love Lily--the ones who accept her hands, eyes, coos, and teeth. The ones who treat her gently. The ones who can laugh with us at our strange sense of normalcy, the way my friend did tonight.
I think about them, thanking God for our fortune in having them as friends, and suddenly, life feels normal again.