I Was So Scared of Different

I used to be so scared of different. Of standing out. I preferred to blend in. Not rock the boat.

But you kid. You changed all that. You were born to stand out. To be different.

When you were little I’d get so scared. The fear would paralyze me.

We’d be in a waiting room or at a park. Everyone else would be sitting. Or playing quietly. You’d be flapping. Or making happy noises. Moving chairs. Eating sand. Twirling. Never sitting. Screeching. Grunting. Laughing at sounds or colors.

You’d drop to the ground to feel the scratch of a rug on your cheek or put your ear to the metal of a door to hear the muffled sounds on the other side.

And everyone would stare.

One second you’d be on the floor and the next running only to drop to the ground, roll, laugh and pat the ground.

Or you’d be melting down. Overwhelmed by the wait. Screaming. Either way it almost sounds the same. Loud.

I’d look around. Make eye contact with a stranger. A fellow mother. And look away. I’d think in my head, stop. Stop Cooper. Stop drawing attention to yourself. To us. Everyone knows. They know you are different.

But it’s not for reasons you think. I wasn’t embarrassed. I wasn’t ashamed. I was scared. I was nervous. I worried they were judging you. Labeling you as bad. Or delayed.

Or worse…avoiding you.

Moving to the other side of the street or another seat. Anything to avoid an interaction with the weird kid. The loud kid. The bad kid. And the bad mother.

Then something changed. You were no longer little. Blending in wasn’t even remotely an option.

And in this extraordinary way you became yourself. More yourself than any other person I have ever known. No fear. No worry. And you brought me with you.

At 8 you started laughing louder. Smiling more. You danced in parking lots and slid like a penguin in waiting rooms.

You clapped when a stranger would say your name and say ‘uh-oh’ when a person dropped their keys. You started waving at everyone and not caring if they waved back.

You started babbling nonstop only in your own language. Sounds and squeals that no one can understand.

You forced me to wave my arm like an elephants trunk in Target and sing The Itsy Bitsy Spider on the sidewalk. Everyone staring. Some smiling. Some judging. You only danced more.

You could care less if people stare. In fact, you love the audience.

Thank you kid for bringing me with you on this magical ride. One that I know not everyone gets a seat for.

Finding Cooper’s Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you’re never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village….all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook, subscribe for exclusive videos, and subscribe to our newsletter.

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Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!

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