Thursday, July 21, 2011

N is for Normal

You see the cracks but I see the light that shines through them.

What is normal? Webster's dictionary defines normal as A: of, relating to, or characterized by average intelligence or development B: free from mental disorder, sane. How would you define normal?

13 years ago, I gave birth to a baby boy. We named him Robert after my uncle. Nothing was normal about his birth. We barely made it to the hospital. When he was born, I did not get to hold him. The nurses whisked him away and put him in one of those oxygen tents. He wasn't a premie but only weighed 6 pounds 6 ounces. My older children were both over 8 pounds. A few hours later, I got to hold him but something was wrong. He did not look normal and I could not get him to take a bottle. He was also covered in little red spots. Later on, we were told he had congetial cytomegalovirus (CMV).  He was taken to another hospital, the one we were at did not have a neonatal intensive care unit, where he stayed for 5 days.

Robbie at about 1 month

The last 13 years have not been normal. The first few years of Robbie's life were spent taking him to therapy (physical, occupational, and speech) He did not follow the normal timeline of most children. For example, he did not start to walk until he was 3 1/2 years old. That was a major accomplishment. Since the infection caused hearing loss as well, he hasn't learned to talk. He makes some gutteral noises like an infant and uses sign language to communicate but it is very limited.

No, Robbie is not your normal teenager. You can not leave him home alone or send him outside to play. You can not leave matches around or he will start a fire. You have to hold his hand while crossing the street. He doesn't play video games. He still plays with little kid toys but he can figure out stuff on the computer better than I can. No, Robbie is not your normal teenager but if he was, then he wouldn't be Robbie now would he?

linked to Jenny Matlock Alphabe Thursday Letter N

Jenny Matlock


Anonymous said...

Robbie's talents are more hidden than most other people's, but you've managed to find at least a few of them. Importantly, it seems he's also helped you find some of yours...patience, empathy, among others I'm sure. This was a lovely and thought-provoking post.

Mary said...

Hi There!
I've learned after overcoming some of lifes challenges that I've had to come up with my new normal.... my own normal. And so true... Robbie wouldn't be Robbie if he wasn't who he is! Love that! Thanks for stopping by today!

criticalcrass said...

i love the first line of this post. if it matters at all, i don't think there IS a normal.

it's like val kilmer's doc holliday says in tombstone: "there's no normal life, wyatt. there's just life. you get on with it."

sounds like you're doing pretty well, considering, with getting on with it. i hope you get some smoother waters for the next few days, though. a brief respite from challenge is a wonderful thing. :]

RNSANE said...

Who are we to say what is normal? It seems like you've done an amazing job with Robbie. I am sure it hasn't been easy for either one of you, at times, but there isn't a question, at all, of your love for your son. Good for you, Mom!

My Alphabe Thursday is at:

Hope you have a terrific weekend!

Andy said...

I had a lump in my throat when you said "No, Robbie is not your normal teenager but if he was, then he wouldn't be Robbie now would he?"
Whatever "normal" is, Robbie and all your children are special gifts from God.

A very thought-provoking piece indeed.

Thanks for sharing.

Ames said...

No matter how perfect or imperfect our children are they are beautiful gifts from God. Blessings!~Ames

sm said...

thought provoking
N for Normal

Our Village is a Little Different said...

I have twins with Asperger syndrome - The world looks and sees what's quirky or different. I look and I see perfect.

Robbie looks perfect to me, too.

God bless you both.


Jenny said...

"Normal" can be such a painful word.

I hear that comparison often with our younger in, "Why can't she just live a normal life!" I always tell people, "Maybe that is normal for her!"

Thanks for a thought provoking link this week.


Anna said...

I have long since stopped using the word "normal" when it comes to the kids. I describe my older child as "Neurotypical", because normal just points out that the other two aren't.

It takes strong parents to raise kids who aren't neurotypical.

Post a Comment