My Family

"Life will knock you down. You can choose to stand up again."

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

"Is that kid special?"

Last Friday, it was just Mama and Colton. Josh had taken the two middle boys on a backpacking trip/campout, Jackson was at Youth Conference, and Brooklyn was with her other family. When I got home, I asked Colton where he would like to go for dinner. He said, "Wendy's." :) Of course! He and I went on our date to Wendy's. As we were sitting there, another boy and his mom came in. It was obvious to me, as a mommy of an awesomely Autistic son, that this sweet boy was also on the spectrum. Colton immediately asked me, "Mama, he is special, huh?" I told him that he sure was special! Then, we went to Maceys to pick up Colton's monthly meds. There was another little friend at Maceys. Colton immediately asked me, "Mama, he is special, hug?" I told him, again, that he sure was special! It dawned on my that Colton SEES special people. He sees them, he embraces them, he loves them, he smiles non-stop at them... but he does not recognize himself in that "category." I don't know that he sees himself as "one of them." He just sees himself as Colton.
The more I thought about that, the more I wondered if that was a good thing or a bad thing. Should Colton know AND own the fact that he is Autistic? Should I sit down and explain to him that just as these two awesomely Autistic kids are "special," that he is too? Should I put him in that category with that label? It didn't take long for me to tell myself, "Self. Absolutely not! Autism does not define Colton, just as depression and anxiety do not define me. Just as divorce does not define me. Just as blue eyes do not define Colton. Just as a size 10 shoe does not define Colton." Myself and I had a great conversation about this! There shouldn't be categories or labels. Colton is Colton. Just as those special kiddos are just kiddos.
Categories and labels are unnecessary in society. Period. We have given names, and those are what we ought to refer to each other with. Autism is not Colton's name, or his definition. Gay is not my brothers' names, or their definition. Divorced is not my name, or my definition. Our religion is not our name. Our income is not our name. Our marital status, parental status, job title is not our name. Colton is Colton. I am Heidi. Enough said.

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