He Doesn’t Care… Why Should I?

I don’t feel the same about big social events as I used to. An early interventionist told me at the beginning of this process with Knox that “Birthday parties are the worst.”

I had no idea what she was talking about.

Of course, at that point Knox was only 2, and most 2-year-olds just kind of do their own thing when they’re in a big group. He didn’t stand out as having autism because none of the other little boys were talking much either, and they all kind of ran around hyper and crazy.

Now, when he’s in a group, Knox does stand out. While other kids are sitting calmly in a circle on the floor, Knox runs around it flinging his arms around. While the other kids are playing at the fair, Knox is holding my hand asking me to “go out” because the rides look too tall or refusing to eat cotton candy because it feels weird to him. While at a birthday party, the other kids are opening presents, but Knox is squealing, jumping up and down, not a bit interested in what everyone else is doing.

It’s hard, and it can be stressful. As someone who has always cared way too much about what other people think, it’s hard to disengage from what’s normal and just focus on my child. I used to try to get him to conform to what the other kids were doing because, well, that’s what he was supposed to be doing.

Was it really? Who am I to try to make him less of who he is?

2013-10-30-19.08.42 Just last week, we were at a fall festival at church. When we first walked in, Knox was overwhelmed at all of the stuff around him. I didn’t even realize at first that he’d started to cry because the live band was so loud. I bent down and talked to him for a minute, and he seemed to calm down. We walked a lap around, and before long he told me “drums!” He’d seen the drum set on the stage and was interested in it. So, we walked over, and within five seconds, he tried to climb on the stage. I had to pull him back down several times; I’m pretty sure the drummer wouldn’t be able to perform nearly as well with a 3-year-old dressed as a cucumber sitting on his lap. Knox stood there and inched closer and closer to the stage, mesmerized by the music. Then, he started to dance. There weren’t any other kids dancing. Just Knox… and he was so happy.

You know what I did? I let him dance. Because his happiness is always more important to me than what other people think about him or me. I praise God for this boy and the fact that he doesn’t care a single bit about what other people think of him. I could use a little more of that, myself.

Yes, Knox is different, but sometimes, different is so much better than ordinary.

This post originally appeared on My Coffee Is Cold.

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