Weird: of strange or extraordinary character : odd, fantastic. 2 : of, relating to, or caused by witchcraft or the supernatural : magical. weird.
This is the definition according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary.
Throughout the years, I’ve heard that word used to describe my kids, on more than one occasion. Luckily for me, I have a pretty decent sense of humor. I have used those moments in time to use my humor as a defense and to learn to let things go that I can’t control. I’ve never held it against anyone.
People judge when they don’t understand. Especially when they are young. Back in school, I can recall being called weird. For some reason I’ve never really understood, I grew to actually like that term. It meant I didn’t fit into any certain mold. I embraced it. If everyone else was swooning over David Cassidy, I was proud to stand alone and be in love with Bobby Sherman! When my parents offered to buy me a new bike, similar to the ones all of my friends were riding, I asked for an acoustic guitar. Some thought it was strange but I was quite content with my “old” bike and I was eager to learn the guitar. Well, truth be told, I quickly had to admit to myself that I didn’t really want to learn how to play the guitar, I wanted to learn to play songs on the guitar! I did just that. Who cares if it was only 2 songs, I could play music!
Being a parent of special needs children and a tenured special education paraprofessional, I’ve heard the word “weird” vollied around more times than I can count. In fact, some of my special education students would call be weird. My response? “Why, yes, I am weird and I am proud of it!” I hope they have hung onto those words and that they carry them forward with them through their lives. I really hope I have also instilled that in my own children.
Maybe you think it’s yet another example of me being weird. I’ll respond to that later.
I didn’t realize it when my kids were young, but it was much easier to parent special needs children as children. It has gotten much harder as they have become adults. There is far more judgement towards them. It happens at the grocery store, big box stores, anyplace we may go. People judge what they don’t understand.
I’ve learned to deal with it. I’ve learned to ignore it. I’ve learned to place it deep in the crevices of my mind. I’ve learned to laugh about it. I’ve done what I can to give other “weirdos” like me, permission to love the term like I do.
At least I thought I was over it. It happened again, not too long ago. I’ve had people come in to my life and my children’s life and they have been leary, hesitate. I respect those that openly tell me they haven’t ever dealt with someone with special needs. I use moments like that to educate them with one. simple. sentence. I respond “They are people, just like you and me, they feel, they bleed, they want acceptance.” I’ve seen more than one person relax and learn that they really aren’t so bad! I’ve also had people walk into our lives that just get it They treat them as they would like to be treated. They tease them, talk to them, acknowledge them and make them feel valuable, all on their own.
But it all comes down to this. I’m weird. They are my children so of course they are weird. We are proud of it. Why? Well, the first part of the definition of the word explains it all! It states “of strange or extraordinary character.”
Why thank you, Merriam Webster. Yes we are! We are extraordinary characters.