The Brocks are back!
I've decided to try my hand at blogging again, and I'll tell you two simple reasons why. First, because the blog I did (sorry, Adam did!) for our year in Durham was so much fun. I had a look back at his blog and remembered a lot of fun things we did that I had already forgotten. I can't even remember if I've brushed my teeth most days, so that's not exactly surprising. But it was fun to look back and I think in a few years I will be grateful to look back and see that some of our present day events have been recorded.
The second reason is simply Adam. Life with him is anything but normal, and I appreciate the space to think through and recount experiences that I have with him. Even the most ordinary of events, like going to the park (see below), brings out issues and emotions that I don't want to gloss over or forget. I have been given a gift in Adam, the gift of seeing life from a different perspective, seeing people from a different perspective. Life with him might at times be hard, but it's also a rich landscape of theological, sociological, and philosophical insights (none of which I'm responsible for talking about first!)
Enough of the blather. On to the first topic for perusal...
The park. Not always my favourite place to go, and I realised yesterday why that is: because of all that can go wrong. The first thing I notice when we go to a park is how many kids there are. None is my best option--nothing can go wrong! (at least, not with anyone else involved) A few kids and, well, it should be ok. A lot of kids and my nerves are already shot. Yesterday there was something between a few and a lot of kids at Seaton Park. Darn.
So Caleb and Adam head on to the train, and Adam starts jogging to the other side. It's really quite cute: Adam "jogging" is a sight to behold, with his fists by his chest and elbows sticking out to the side, it looks put on but it's not. Caleb is hot on his heels because, even though he's already taller than Adam, at two years his junior Caleb depends on Adam to set the trend when they are out. What Adam does Caleb does.
They soon encounter the group of boys at the end of the train. These boys are probably 6-7 years old, but they immediately focus on my boys and start asking questions. They ask Caleb his name, and because he gets shy and quiet they misunderstand and start taunting him that he has "a girl's name." I casually step in to spell out his name, just to eliminate confusion, mind you. Then I remind Caleb that he can push through the group if he wants to climb through the front window. Now, I know I don't have to do this. I'm working on that whole momma bear thing!
But here's the great thing: despite the funny looks he gets, Adam pushes through the group without so much as a second glance, and heads back in the other direction. He hasn't noticed the boys or their smirks. He doesn't understand or bother about their snide little remarks. He isn't self-conscious like Caleb. He just is. That's really what I love about Adam: he is who he is, without pretence or apology or regret. Oh, if only I could have a tiny bit of that ability.
I realised then that I dread these kind of experiences. I hate that suffering and emotional torment are part and parcel of childhood (indeed, life), and wish I could protect my boys from every instance where they might get hurt by someone. And I admit, when I see a group of kids that my boys will encounter, I know the chances are high that someone will point out how different Adam is. I watch to see how Caleb responds to these encounters, and so far he's never been too bothered. I pray for the words to explain Adam (and how others react to him sometimes) gracefully to Caleb when the time comes.
The flip side is that I also rejoice in the saving graces of Adam's particular disability. There is a beauty to see how life could be if we were all "disabled" like Adam is. If we didn't even look around to see who is watching us while we dance to music at the mall. Or cough up our dinner at a pub. Or hike up our shorts super high on the playground. What would it be like if we smiled at strangers? Or tried to take the nice lady's jacket off at the grocery store because it's inside and we don't need our jackets inside? Or gulp the communion wine because, well, because it tastes good!
Maybe the park isn't just indicative of all that can go wrong--maybe it's also very much about what goes right. Caleb sticking with Adam through thick and thin, Adam outperforming everyone on the fire pole (even the 7 year olds!), both boys grinning at me from the top of the slide...the friends we've made at the park, the times when I've been surprised by another child's perceptiveness, the parents who have helped me look out for Adam unsolicited. These are things I would miss if I didn't go to the park at all. Not to mention having two very unhappy boys!!
Come to think of it, I like the park after all.