We’ve had some pretty great weekends recently. Of course our life is not Instagram perfect, staged and always lovely, I’ll never pretend for a moment that it is, but we’ve stretched our boundaries, moved our comfort zone further out and have started exploring the world a bit more with Reagan.
Last weekend we went to the splash pad in our neighborhood. Reagan hated it. But it was a HUGE step for us (me especially) just to go. We went super early so no one was there yet. My issue with splash pads is all the kids are running and walking. When I drive out of my neighborhood, I see the parents just hanging out and talking to each other while their kids play with one another and splash about like it’s the best thing ever.
But for us, its’ a struggle. For every photo you see of Reagan standing, there are bunches of these.
It is very much a struggle to always stand.
She needs us to help her. She needs to hold on, and there’s nothing to hold onto at the splash pad except for us. With every new experience, I have to constantly fight through how the experience is different, process it as it’s happening, and then be OK with the fact that our experiences look different from the worlds, and from yours in all likelihood. It happens in split second moments, and then it’s re-processed throughout the day. Wow, we did a splash pad. It’s OK…it’s OK. It’s different, it’s real life, it’s OK. We can do it, we DID do it.
Then, we went to the mall. But it wasn’t just any mall trip.
We did the kind of mall trip that elicits stares. I have to admit, I WAS THAT PERSON who stared and can I tell you, that being on the receiving end of those stares is W E I R D. A group of young girls, like seven years old and under, walked by and stared at Reagan, and then turned when they passed us to continue staring. I don’t think I would expect much more from young kids…I mean, it’s probably something they’re not used to seeing. It’s up to those in their life to make a teaching opportunity of the situation. Hopefully they did. Not everyone was like that though, some people engaged us, but it was a totally different experience putting her in a walker vs. having her in her stroller. I felt treated differently, I felt those long pity stares at Reagan vs. every other time I’ve gone somewhere with her. In her stroller, all people say is how beautiful she is. This time, it felt like all people could see was her walker and not the awesome beautiful girl inside of it. She is not her walker. I can already see the next stage of struggles brewing…and as she grows, the differences will become more obvious. But you know what?
It’s OK…it’s OK. It’s different, it’s real life, it’s OK. We can do it, we DID do it.
Going out is tough. I feel like we’re pioneers never knowing what we will encounter. And chances are, people with children who are differently abled might feel the same way. I can probably count on one hand the number of kids I’ve seen out in public, in a walker like Reagan. B/c it’s hard and that’s real life and it’s just easier to stay in, even though it’s equally as tough. Rob pushes me to do these things. He says: “sure, it’s hard. Maybe Reagan will only walk three stores, but maybe in six months she’ll walk the entire length of the mall and back. Just b/c it’s tough on us doesn’t mean we don’t give her those experiences.” [gulp] He’s right.
So we keep doing these things, not knowing if it’s hard b/c she’s two or b/c of all the other stuff.
At brunch the other day I’m pretty sure we were dealing with a typical two year old.
I can tell we’re headed into a new season…it’s just starting. Walkers out in public, brunch handstands, special needs parents at the splash pad. This is our life. Welcome.