Friday, November 26, 2010

Strangely Amazing

Strange: unusual, extraordinary, or curious; odd;

Amazing: to overwhelm with surprise or sudden wonder; astonish greatly

The other day, Nate and I were driving home in the car. I had picked him up from the Y afterschool program and I was asking him about his day. This can be tricky. Most days I don't get anything from him. If I do get a morsel of intel, it's quickly followed by, "Maaawwwmmmmm, can we stop all of this TALKING?"

Not this day.

 Nate told me, "Mom, I had some crying", which I told him that it was okay to cry. He paused...and then he said, "Mom, I'm...different. People tell me I'm strange. Am I strange, Mom?" 

The tidal wave of emotions that fell over me was palpable. My eyes swelled with all too familiar feelings and incredible empathy. I had similar conversations with my mother, and she just said I was "hyper". Hyper meant I didn't participate in extra curricular activities or went out to stores. I was verbally put down for being ME, which I certainly couldn't control and had no instruction manual to trouble shoot with. I was taught that it was BAD to be ME.

Ahh...the old negative psychology pep talk. It NEVER works.  

I looked at Nathan in the eyes and told him, "Nate, I would rather you be strange and amazing than be like everyone else. I am proud of who you are and who you are working to be. Strange isn't bad. Strange is unique and special. And you, Nate, are strange and creative and wonderful and I would have you no other way."

He snuggled next to me and said, "Mom, were you strange?"

I laughed, "OH YES, I was very strange and I still am. And I'm very happy and proud to be so."

We both had tears in our eyes. He said, "Mom, I love you more than Pop Tarts."
I giggled, "Even S'mores Pop Tarts?"
"Don't get me wrong, Mom, I love Pop Tarts, but I do love you more."

There are days when I wish that he never had to suffer the daily struggles of the social jungle.  But all children do, even my child. I want to let him know that it's okay to be who he is and to never be ashamed of that. I still wrestle with it, I admit, but I won't let him. Encouraging his uniqueness, his true self is part of my job as a parent. 

I love my job.


  1. OMG my heart broke there, too. Tell him Auntie Kux is strange, too. As I sit here with my jeans, old sweater and rhinestone bling bracelet on - just for a little sparkle.

    Love you both!

  2. Awww! Auntie Kux and Mama Kux are strange indeed :)

    Love you, too!

  3. I have tears in my eyes... thank you for sharing that.

    For some of us, there is still that socially "strange" kid that has been tamped down and disciplined; made to memorize the lines of what's "right" to say at all times.

    I am so happy that Nathan is learning self-acceptance and to be who who he is - and I'd agree that is strangely AMAZING!!!! I am a big believer that our uniqueness is the real unique gift any of us have to truly bestow on the world - makes us who we are. :-)

    You're a strangely amazing mom!

  4. Great response!

    It's good to be strange. If we were all normal, how boring would life be?

  5. Hi... I just found your blog this evening. My son got a dx of AS a few weeks ago. When I saw the photo at the top of this entry, I jumped because it looks like my ds. Once I realized it wasn't my ds, I had to contact you to ask if this is a typical face that your ds makes... and how about others with AS? Is this a typical face for them? (That sounds so strange! I'm sorry!) The head tilt, the big eyes and raised eyebrows, and the lips drawn tightly or the bottom lip over the top one... this is a look that my son has done for years. (He's seven now.)

  6. @M Peep: I am not sure if it is typical of AS kids, but I know mine does it all the time! I love that all AS kids have some sort of special "face". /They are very expressive when they're not trying to be. :)