There have been so many times that Ethan has been compared to "normal babies".

I know it's not meant to be hurtful, but in the past, (especially in the beginning of our journey) I'll admit it stung to have my baby referred to as anything but normal.

I'm not sure why, but growing up I always felt like being anything other than normal felt inadequate.

Then life took a surprising turn and we were placed in the midst of a medically complicated journey.

I don't want Ethan to grow up feeling that being different is a negative thing.

I want him to grow up knowing that what makes him different also makes him special.

We live in a world filled with images ingrained in us of what a picture perfect life looks like, but its not real, and it's basically unattainable.

Our life isn't picture perfect, but it's real, raw and filled with challenges and most importantly, an incredible amount of love. 

When I look at my son, I don't see normal, but what I do see is extraordinary.

My two and a half year old son has taught me so much about the beauty in being different and unique.

For as long as I can remember, I was so concerned about fitting in and appearing as normal as possible.

I no longer see anything negative in this, and I am finding I care less and less about impressing others. 

Once you let go of the idea of what's considered "normal" you open yourself up to the beauty in diversity.

We spend too much of our time worrying about what's perfect that it can rob you of enjoying your life now.

Ethan's three year old cousin once asked their Grandma if she could bring him some frozen yogurt.

She told her that he couldn't because Ethan ate through a feeding tube inserted in his tummy. His little cousin responded with, oh, okay. No more questions asked.

Acceptance, plain and simple. When did we learn to treat and/or judge others because of their differences? I think we could all learn from seeing the world through children's eyes.

What makes Ethan different make him unique, this goes for everyone.

Every person on this earth has something special about them that no one else has. I want Ethan to know that, not just because of his rare condition, but because I don't want that to define him.

I don't want other people to see him for that either. Yes, we are doing our best to bring awareness for his condition, but he is not his condition. 

I want him to grow up with a confident and positive self image.

I want him to know that he helped me to redefine my idea of what a happy and fulfilling life is. I used to worry about sharing anything that wasn't positive, "cool" or happy.

It's not about appearing to have the perfect life, it's appreciating all the imperfections in life and seeing the blessings in each day.

This kid gives his love so freely.

He reminds me that it's much better to give love than to limit yourself.

Seriously, he signs "I love you" to people he has just met and blows kisses, and at one point I thought - maybe I should teach him to reserve this for close family & friends. Then I thought, no, he is giving love without reservations and that's something we all could use a little more of. Uncomplicated and innocent love.

Ethan isn't normal but neither are you and neither am I. Describing him as anything but normal is no longer an issue, in fact it's compliment!

We should all be proud of our uniqueness and embrace it to empower ourselves to do more.

Don't waste another day being anything but yourself.

 

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