Who is Normal, Anyway?

normal-pinI hate labels.

Everyone is guilty of labeling. It’s how we classify people and things. It’s how me navigate our world socially. She’s a pretty girl. He’s a tall boy. So on and so forth.

In the special needs world, there is “typical” and there’s “special.” It’s very black and white. Either you’re “normal” or you’re not. I hate the word “normal.” What’s so great about being normal? Everyone’s “normal” is different.

My kids are “special.” I’m told they look “normal” which really tests my patience. I try hard to hold those momma bear claws back but seriously, who says such things? #jerks

I don’t know what it’s like to have “typical” children. Since our journey began nine years ago this month, I feel like autism has been the center of our lives. It’s become our “normal.”

Having kids with special needs is not easy. We have to constantly be on alert. We are their teacher, their advocate, their nurse, their rock. It’s hard to always be in that position. Sometimes you don’t want to be a rock. Sometimes…you just want some “normal.”

I sometimes wonder what our lives would be like if autism never touched us. I wonder if my kids would be different. What their personalities would be like. What it would be like for Littlest to be able to talk and play and just purely exist like an almost six-year-old. What it would be like to not have to worry about IEP meetings and if my kids are getting the proper accommodations. What it would be like if they weren’t labeled.

I love my kids with all my heart and soul. And I wouldn’t trade them for anything. But I do wish I could take their autism away. I wish they didn’t have to deal with the struggles that they go through. They will always be labeled. Autistic.

It sounds silly, but I sometimes wonder why. Why my children were chosen for this disability. Why I was chosen to be their guide. A large percentage of the time I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing. It’s like I’ve been handed something to assemble and the instructions are in a foreign language I don’t understand.

That is what special needs parenting is to me. My only hope is that others can look past the labels and see the bright, amazing children that I see. And accept them for the fantastic beings that they are.

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