Born @ 27 weeks
2lbs 7oz

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Be Weird.

Be Yourself.
Be Unique.
Be Special.

It comes very naturally to our family.

We're different (and I love my husband so much for not just embracing it, but taking it to the next level).

We eat frozen pizza on our fine china.
We sip champagne on summer nights.
We are non committal. (Nash has lived in 9 homes in four years).
When I used to be on a plane every week for work, I would snap pictures of strangers sleeping, (likely drooling) . I'm sure I was breaking a myriad of laws, but it used to send me into hysterics trying to secretly capture the shot of the unknowing party. (Um - party of one).
We have cupcakes for breakfast.
We dance party every day. 
We walk backwards to bed.
The boys want to be naked (often).
We wear capes (all of us).
We sleep in tents (inside).
make up raps about my children on the way to school.
The boys belt out Miley Cyrus (not something I'm proud of).
Nash's lovey is named Stanley (which is interesting when Nash is frantically searching for 'Stanley' in public).
We make messes.
We are not calm.
We giggle - a lot.

One of the many things we want to instill in our children is that is okay to be different - to look different, to dress differently, to want different things, to like people that are different than us - different abilities, appearances, beliefs, religions, etc. It's not just okay in our family, it is encouraged.

How fitting that our family would have special needs. Does that also make us extraordinary? I think so.

We talk about how 'fitting in' is safe but at the same time often disengeuous. We talk about how we feel and how to express that and embrace it, while respecting others and their differences.

Be different.
Be unique.
Be weird!!!!

Isn't that the same as 'special'?

Two months ago, my heart sank the day I learned our son would need braces to help his pronating ankles. Without braces, his knees will roll in, his hips will no longer align and we are looking at lifetime impairments.

Instantanelusly, I didn't want our son to be different, to be the object of ridicule from his friends, to feel embarrassed or ashamed or to stand out. I didn't want people asking him questions, making him feel isolated. 

All these years I've preached how special 'unique' is and at this one particular moment in time, I was eating my words, chewing pleadingly on the word 'normal'.

That night, Michael and I cried. Not from disappointment or for Shaw - just.... for not being able to protect our child from the world around us. 

It's the ignorance of some people that can strip the innocence and will from a child. People - sometimes children - can be so cruel. 

Fortunately, our special family lives in a rich world surrounded by extrodinary friends that we have met throughout our journey. These friends applaud and celebrate the tiniest accomplishments and obstacles. We check on one another and offer encouragement and earnestly empathize during challenges. It is such a tight, protective family, given our walk through struggles and achievements. If only the rest of the world could be as sweet, as understanding and filled with gratitude for the smallest things in life.

Of course, Shaw was unphased by his 'magic shoes' - rightfully so. When he was told they would help him run faster and jump higher, he couldn't get them on fast enough. 

Of course it is Shaw's vivaciousness and zest that catapulted us back to our real world, full of gifts and grounding us again to our family beliefs. 

Of course it was the innocence and wisdom of our three year old that stopped the trigectory of our own fears and insecurities.

The truth is, we now live in this extrodinary world of families with orthotics and AFOs and wheel chairs and feeding tubes. We know we are lucky. We are blessed. We KNOW this is minor and depending on our audience, they would trade our situation and even roll their eyes at AFOs - but the difference is - they won't, because these are the families that don't judge and celebrate with us. We live in such a real, rich world - one of acceptance and accountability, vulnerability and gratitude.

Thanks to Nash and Shaw, we quickly bounced back to our core values and can carry on with our Richter mantra, "Be weird!'

It's because of Shaw that our family continues to learn and feel deeply and make the decisions we do.

"Be weird, Momma. It's cool."

You're damn right, Shaw! 

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