Summer break started and we decided to take the boys to the public pool for the first time this season. Almost all the chairs are filled and you see the excitement of all the kids in the pool. As we approach some lounge chairs, Shai immediately noticed a friend from his bus.
(I’ll share more about sending your kids to public school at five and six-years old later, but man does it hurt the mom-heart sometimes. I remember putting him on that bus for the first time terrified but again just trusting he would be OK and sure enough we made it through kindergarten just fine.)
As we set stuff down, Shai’s little friend hollers from across the entire pool “Hey Shai, what’s wrong with your mom?” Shai instantly looks at me with a mixture of fear and ‘what the heck?‘ in his big eyes.
In a split second I realize something deep in my heart – This is it! The moment I’ve been waiting for. The moment I NEVER wanted my children to experience, but also the moment I wanted them to be PREPARED for. The moment I pictured in my head happening and the reason I started No Such Thing.
I could have bailed him out and explained to the kid that his question was slightly inappropriate. I could have walked over to his uncomfortable mother and shared with her too, but I looked at Shai gave him a smile and immediately responded “go ahead and answer him.”
Shai is an extremely exquisite little boy with a large vocabulary and even larger personality and I honestly didn’t know what was about to come out of his mouth.
He screams across the entire pool “Nothings wrong with her. She just can’t walk”. The best answer I could have ever heard. Simple and true.
The boy then says “why does she have legs then?”
You could feel the awkwardness for the parents surrounding the pool but I still didn’t want to intervene. Shai then walks over and explains what my wheelchair is and that I use it to get around and that my legs just aren’t strong enough to walk but just because I can’t use them like he does doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have them.
The mom then walks over and apologizes for her son but I tell her “it’s ok, Shai handled it” Did I mentioned this boy was probably 2 or 3 grades older than Shai?
I’m sure she was embarrassed that the entire pool heard her son scream such intense questions, but honestly I couldn’t have been more proud of the way Shai replied. I felt so much pride in my heart. He wasn’t ashamed that his mom was different. I think if anything he felt bad the child didn’t know the simple answer of what a wheelchair was used for.
As a mother our natural instinct is to protect. To prevent harm, shame or even uncomfortable situations for our babies. I believe we are called to equip them. To teach them to stand up for love and truth. I never wanted my child to have to answer this question, but I also knew it was inevitable.
Do you relate to the mom whose child is asking the “awkward” question? Or do you relate to living with a unique situation that the world is hungry for knowledge or insight about?
Either way I hope to be a resource for you. Through my book No Such Thing As Normal or through my blogs, vlogs and social media accounts where I’m sharing what I’ve learned as I continue to navigate the question “what’s wrong with your mom”, not only for my boys but for myself.