Last week, Michael and I were driving with the little girls in the back. Susannah was reading a book and we heard her say, “Charlie! Charlie, leave it alone!” Charlie giggled a naughty sort of laugh and Susannah said, “Charlie, stop doing that!” Followed by another chuckle from Charlie. This went on for a minute or two, and we couldn’t have been happier.
I’m a mother of four, so I know how crazy that sounds! I’ve been the Mum on long car trips with a hand flailing madly backwards at shin-level between the front seats, trying to find anyone’s legs to slap while yelling about not screaming in the car and about treating each other with respect (oh, the irony).
The strange thing about this particular sibling argument is just how ‘oddly normal’ it sounded.
With Charlie’s condition, conversations and play between the sisters has been extremely limited. The love isn’t lacking, but the usual sisterly relationship stuff is. Michael and I both remarked with wide smiles on just how amazing this little exchange was for us to hear. What a monumental moment of sheer, remarkable, wonderful… ORDINARY.
It made me realise that for Charlie, ‘normal’ is so foreign that anything ‘normal’ seems odd.
What an oxymoron that is. I’m sure this isn’t unique to us. I’ll bet any special needs parent could recount an occasion when something completely ordinary happened and it was totally unexpected (and even celebrated).
I subscribe to all the things our little ‘disability community’ says – “Normal is relative”; “There’s no such thing as normal”; “Normal is overrated”; “Who wants to be normal when you can be awesome?”; and the like. I really, really believe in these ideals. But on days like these…
… a big helping of ‘normal’ for us please!
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