Everywhere I go, I meet people who react curiously to my son, Kyle. I can almost put words to their facial expressions. “Something must be wrong with that child,” and “Is he trying to be funny, or is he slow?” His appearance doesn’t immediately suggest a disability. So they look to me with a raised eyebrow, as if cueing me to explain. Once in a while, I purposely withhold my explanation and just let things be.
Not My Job
I’ve decided that it’s not my job to prepare the world for Kyle and his idiosyncrasies. When I was a younger, more immature mother, I worried about other people. Would customers at the bank be upset by Kyle’s tantrums? Do I need to explain to people in line at the supermarket why Kyle is reciting movie lines, so they’ll be more understanding? And what about students in his Sunday school class? Should I explain to them in a private meeting that Kyle is “different” and teach them how to behave around him?
I’m ashamed to say that I once felt a personal obligation to make everyone else’s experience with Kyle smooth and problem-free. I’ve long since abandoned that thinking. Perhaps I’m older and wiser. Or maybe I just no longer care about wrapping things up in a pretty bow for everyone else. The fact is, Kyle is here on this planet earth; he is different and special and wonderfully unique. I make no apology for that, and frankly, the world just has to deal with it.
Who ever said that Kyle’s disability is my trial alone? Or his alone? There are a whole lot of people meant to be touched by my son and the traits that make him special. And I’m not going to deprive anyone of that experience, in its purest form.
I am Kyle’s mother, and not the world’s.
I’m not saying that I won’t be there to happily answer people’s questions, meet with Kyle’s teachers, and oversee his mental and physical well-being as long as I’m alive. If a situation called for my intervention, I’d be right there. But with the smaller issues, I have decided to take a step back and let whatever happens happen. Que sera, sera. I am willing to do whatever I can to improve Kyle’s earthly experience, but not everyone else’s. I am Kyle’s mother, and not the world’s. I have enough children to worry about.
Simple words of wisdom: Let it be.
My hope is that when Kyle is out amongst humankind, people will find him as engaging, interesting, and incredible as I do. But I’m realistic enough to know that some people won’t. And that’s fine; it’s their loss. As long as my son is happy, safe, and thriving, I just don’t care about what others think. Kyle is a teenager with a gentle heart who likes simple things and wants to always do right, methodically. He is funny, quirky, happy, loving, smart, and good-natured. How could anyone not be ultimately benefited by knowing him? The fact is, they are benefited, whether they realize it or not. Kyle is one of life’s delightful surprises. And I am blessed to be his mother.