She said with a look like she was trying to solve a puzzle, all frowns and confusion. I am not speaking about a specific little person but this look and similar questions is something we encounter every week. Predominantly from children, an occasional adult asks too, some almost as direct and others stumble over a few umms before getting out the intended query.
Before I even fell pregnant I would think about the children I wanted and the thought, or fear I guess, would cross my mind “I hope they are okay, I hope they are normal”. I get nervous even typing that sentence because it sounds so completely horrible. I know I was not alone with that fear, Steve admitted similar thoughts and I can only assume most of the human population just want their children to be “normal”. When Boston was born I fell head over heels in love with him, I would not swap him for any baby in the whole wide world. But I did have times of absolute grief when I realised he was automatically put in the “different” pile.
I worried how it would affect him. His emotions, self worth, getting ahead in the world, being accepted by others, his love life, would he be teased or bullied, would this lead to other problems. And yes I will admit that when I first saw those puzzling looks and heard comments about “that baby’s head” my mama bear bristles stood on end and my heart ached for him. I just wanted people to see him as Boston, not as the baby with the different head and not as the kid with Saethre-Chotzen Syndrome.
But guess what? We are human and humans need to understand what they see, they need to explain their world in part through this sense and they are also fearful of the unknown. To those who do not know him Boston will be someone who looks unique. He may be described in this way just like someone is described by the way they dress, the colour of their skin, the gait they walk or the height they reach.
Cameron Russel says it perfectly in her Ted Talk ” Image is powerful, but also, image is superficial” (a good talk to get you thinking). What I have come to embrace is that Boston IS DIFFERENT. The way he looks is not all of who he is, but it is a powerful part of that person. I do not want him to feel like he has to hide those differences or try to blend in with everyone else. I want him to be proud of each piece of the puzzle that makes him whole and I want him to feel confident to express who he is to everyone he meets.
What I want for myself is to leave all the prejudices I unconsciously had so far behind me they look like a smarty on the moon. There were times when I would be scared of those who were different, those who were obviously harmless but still different enough for me to feel uncomfortable, scared I would not act correctly or that I would offend them (a working progress of awareness). Now I am the one seeing puzzled stares I can tell you that when someone takes the time to actually voice their questions (in a polite way of course) I really admire them. I wish that we could all feel safe and confident to embrace each others differences, maybe then there would be less fear, less bullying, less trying to hiding our true selves. I ask that anyone who can relate to what I am saying or feels moved at all, please practice acceptance of others and teach your children through all you do and say.
So what do I say to the question “Why does his face look weird?” ….well simply “That is just the way Boston was born, we are all born different and that is a really fantastic thing!”