I found myself tonight looking for soft music to help set the mood to help me write. While I wanted something inspiring I also wanted it to be soothing. After playing several of my favorite popular pop hits -and still no flow of thought, I decided to try a more spiritual approach. My search ended when I came a across Phillip Phillips "Home". How fitting I thought, given the weekends course of events.
I listened to his beautiful strong voice and moving lyrics. He definitely was one of my favorite male recording artist. His words reached inside of me giving me much more than I imagined to think about.
I reminisced momentarily about dinner out tonight with my youngest son Josiah. The uneasiness he felt from a near by table as they occasionally looked at him and the approach I decided to take to help him overcome his uncomfortableness. I had thought about rearranging our seats at the table. Putting his back to the situation would most certainly ease any apprehension he felt and allow him to escape stares. But this was not how I wanted to teach my son to deal with situations that left us feeling uneasy. Like the lyrics in the song I listened to tonight I wanted Josiah to not let fear control him. I wanted him to feel every where he went he was welcomed and accepted and NEVER ALONE. So turning to the table behind me I gave a fearless hello at the eyes that had glanced in our direction.
I spent time later in the evening discussing with Josiah that the looks he might receive are not meant to make him feel self conscience. More often than not it is empathy if anything at all. Most importantly I wanted him to know he is loved by so many. I also wanted to help him feel confident and proud of who he was. We talked about how many of us have special things about our appearances that might not be labeled as beautiful by the fashion world , such as; being over weight, crooked teeth, thinning hair or wrinkles around the eyes to name a few. But each and everyone of us are created by God and are beautiful. In our own unique special way we are beautifully different-just like snow flakes no two exactly the same.
I tucked Josiah in tonight, before we said our good nights, I snuggled in next to him and we listened to Phillip Phillips sing "Home" on youtube. When the song was over Josiah told me he was not going to let the demons make him afraid. That was a wonderful idea I told him, and it was exactly what I had hoped he would say.
We might not always have nights that work out so nicely. One of the females from the table behind me gave Josiah a cupcake from their party tray. Josiah smiled at her for the kind gesture and accepted her treat. We enjoyed our dinner together and I felt happy that the experience was a good one for us both. I felt relieved that Josiah was not as troubled by the looks he felt upon him tonight. But after Josiah fell asleep I was left with so much more to think about.
Cody my middle son went to his homecoming dance this year. This was his very first dance and although I was excited and proud of him, I felt fear. Fear because his disease posed another problem socially. Cody bravely set out to attend this dance with out a group of friends or classmate to hang with. He and his para from school arranged to meet at the dance. Cody assured me he enjoyed his time with Julie -his para, who graciously gave up her time to spend an evening hanging out with my teenage son, however he admitted the night left him feeling a bit left out. He did not dance with friends or have any interaction with his classmates. He told me he received a few smiles but mostly looks. Looks that left him a little self conscious. What Cody could not tell me, the photos taken on the camera I sent with him showed me. His pictures were all of him alone.
Yes, I could hire Cody a date easily. I could even keep that secret from him. I can not however make someone be his friend and I also can not shield him from the harsh reality of the world. I can let him hold on to me as long as possible but like all teenagers he wants to soar and travel down unfamiliar roads. This new level he has reached I embrace, as much as it scares me, I rejoice that Cody faced his demon and went to the dance alone, confident and proud.
We live in times that are truly trying to address bullying and social acceptance on many levels. I have taken several steps in helping to approach the obstacles Codys physical and mental impairments present. At his last IEP meeting this past week I enlightened his school staff on the social aspect Cody was challenged with recently. We discussed several ways to try to attempt to help Cody feel a bit more accepted amongst his peers. Unfortunately the answer is not a simple one, not for my son or any teenager faced with the longing to belong. So it brings me to think more about the demons that feel all of us with fear, as in Phillips song.
My boys are home tonight, tucked in bed safely, knowing they are loved and have a place they call home. I say good night with one thought- just imagine, how it would feel if we never had to feel alone and if the world felt like our home where ever we went. So I ask when you see that someone that might be different from you in some obvious way, smile at them even offer a hello, you might just be the ONE friendly face they see.