Now why on earth have I told you that story? It wasn’t just to demonstrate how incredibly uncool I am. Instead it was because it has led me to think more about something that I’ve been worrying about since Bennett’s diagnosis. I think a lot of us worry about fitting in. Learning how to fit in can be an important skill in our society. We need to know things like what kind of behaviour is acceptable, manners, etc. Growing up it can become very important. As a child I was lucky in that I was a good student and a good athlete and never had too many problems fitting in. As I got older fitting in mattered less but as was revealed in the coffee story, it obviously still matters to me a bit.
Growing up is difficult and I think we can all agree that as wonderful as they are, children can sometimes be the cruelest creatures on earth. Ellen over at To the Max has had some great posts about this. I worry that Bennett may be picked on because he’s different – maybe he’ll have difficultly making friends. Most of the time I have a hard time believing this because he’s just such a happy, fun, and good-natured kid that I think anyone who didn’t love him would have to be crazy. But I know life can be difficult for kids that have anything that makes them “different” whether it is freckles or crooked teeth or cerebral palsy - despite great results from studies like this one. Erin, a wonderful young writer has written many poignant blog posts about what life is like for a teen with CP. It’s not easy.
So, I worry about what life will be like for Bennett. I am a mother and apparently mothers are masters of worry. I do remind myself that I’m probably worrying for nothing. Bennett will find his own way. He will have difficult moments as every child has. But hopefully I can help him learn from these incidents and help instill in him the confidence to be his own person with his own mind. Somehow I need to find the courage myself to teach him a lesson that I’m obviously still struggling to learn -the lesson that life should be more about standing out than fitting in.