Saturday, December 13, 2008

My social butterfly

I have a confession to make - not something that I am proud of. But I am hoping that as I write about it I will find healing.
My Matt is becoming more and more social. When we are in the supermarket he loves connecting to people - making eye contact or a cute sound to draw their attention, sometimes even reaching out to them with his hands. He particularly loves having "chats" with those in the check out queues and those behind the tills. Now as a mother you would think that I would just delight in those moments. And a big part of me does, but there is another part of me that is wishing Matt wouldn't draw attention to himself. I have been pondering this reaction of mine - trying to figure out the root cause of this. And here it is - FEAR. I fear that the person Matt is "chatting" to will discover that Matt isn't "normal" and then they might think less of him or reject him.
I realise that I can't protect Matt from the world and I can't keep him in a safe bubble. I know that I have to let him make friends even though there is a risk of hurt and pain. I am praying for strength to let go and let Matt interact. I know oneday I will have to walk with him through the sorrow of rejection, and I am praying that I will have the strength for that. I am also praying that until that day comes I will not live in fear, but rather be free to delight in my little social butterfly as he spreads his wings and warms the hearts of strangers.


Kristi said...

All I can say is that I understand. It is so hard to imagine my little one facing some of the things he will face. Sometimes I wish I could keep him in a "safe" bubble but I know that is not whats best for Noah. It's so hard when someone asks me how old Noah is in the grocery store. It happens all the time. I feel a pit in my stomach because I don't want to answer any questions. I just know what you are feeling and its so hard sometimes.. Praying for you.

Jessica mommy to Alex/ RTS said...

I too know the feeling you are talking about. I have decided to proudly say his age, and show my proud side even if I wish we could hide instead. It makes me feel better in the end, and I know Alex will pick up on my proud actions. We are all so proud of our children, everyone else will adapt those feelings.

Cindy said...

Jacqui, you expressed your feelings very well...I've had the same ones, but I don't think I had figured it out as well as you have.

I guess where I finally came to accept Natalie's overt sociability was when I realized people LOVE having a smiling face making them clap their hands with her...too many people in our society just ignore each other, but our kids don't have the "social graces" (how graceful are our social graces?) to politely ignore other people we're standing next to. It's childlike, and Jesus says his kingdom is like that child. Like our children. Like Matt.

Nicole, Graeme and Janel said...

Letting go is something every parent struggles with, but for different reasons, but all of them based in fear.

There's the fear of no longer being needed, or being your child's all-in-all, or the fear that the person they're connecting with will hurt them in some way - break their heart, or the fear that they will love others more than you.

Your experience is even more scary, because you have a real reason to be scared for him.

Praying for you guys.

Terri H-E said...

I have a lump in my throat for you because I can remember the fleeting beginnings of those feelings a long time ago. But I have not been visited by them in a long time.

As others have said, Matt isn't normal. If he were normal, he would be centered on himself and not engaging with others at every opportunity - which is beautiful. Like Addie and Natalie and Caden and many others, he reaches out in sweeping simple ways, ways that make people feel special themselves, feel like they deserve the focus they are getting. Over the years, so many people have confided in me that Addie and themselves have a special sort of relationship and they they really seem to "get" each other. I do not tell them that she makes everyone feel like that. I leave the fact that that is one of our highest ranked prides in our sweet daughter unsaid. Interestingly, it doesn't so much draw attention just to Addie herself, but to our humanity, to what is really the basis of our connection with each other. It teaches people about who they themselves are, reminds them of their worthiness. Matt is giving people a great gift.

The fear is just a hurdle for you. You'll jump it when you can and never look back until you read a blog post like this one by a young mother one day...

Cheers to you. You're a wonderful mama.

Kelly said...

You sure know how to say things! I am at the same place with Max. Max loves to have people focus on him and be center of attention. And for now, he is getting the attention he wants. . . very easily. I worry about when he gets older and instead of getting the attention, people will look away. It will probably break my heart instead of his. . . but I can't help to think about his future. My husband always tells me when I worry about things in the future "you don't know that is how it is going to be". Fear is not fun! Kelly F