To know an object is to lead to it through a context which the world provides. ~ William James
Context can kiss my arse – Jess Wilson
Yesterday, my cousin asked me to elaborate on my post – to explain what I was feeling – why it was hard. This is what I said.
We were on such a high. We still are in so many ways. And we were watching our girl participate – really truly participate – and my God the acceptance and respect for her in that room – it was everything.
And we watched her in a bubble, you know? Comparing her to nothing and no one but herself – as it should be – as it MUST be. And we were SO incredibly amazed at the progress that she’d made and so taken aback by how far she’d come. I mean, Jesus, to be dancing with those kids? It was mind-blowing.
And throughout all of that was this thread of gratitude – for her tenacity and her indefatigable spirit and for you and your family’s generosity and love and the environment of acceptance – all of it.
And we were just so high in that bubble – so focused on her and only her and feeling like she was so – well, IN IT. I don’t know how else to say it.
And then watching the video – the part where the kids did the dance – it forced that progress into context.
Watching it, Luau and I both reacted the same way – separately – he was behind me and we couldn’t see each other. What we saw was our girl IN RELATION to others. And her differences were so so stark. And it wasn’t about the dance moves. It was everything. It was just – she was so, so … different. The way she stood without knowing what to do with her body. The confusion on her face. The – well, lots and lots of things that added up to a neon sign that said this kid is different. And she’s struggling to keep up with something that she desperately wants to be a part of. And that contextualization – particularly in the face of such unbridled joy – made for a really hard landing from a really high place.
It doesn’t take away from the beauty of the day. It doesn’t change a single thing about how much she has accomplished or how much everything you all did for her meant. It can’t. It just hurt like hell to see her in that way.
I hope this makes even the slightest sense. I’m typing as I walk.
I love you. And I’m grateful.
What I didn’t tell her was that Luau broke down after watching the second video. I wouldn’t have told anyone had he not decided to tell you himself. But God bless him, he did. He told you that he wept. That he was scared. That he wanted to scream, “It’s not fair.” And I hope that by saying it all that he freed a dad or two. That he told them that it’s OK.
It’s not in the script – the men falling apart. But by God, how can they not sometimes? Truly, how can they not?
Our girl proves time and again that her timeline is hers and hers alone. That expectations and so-called norms can kiss our behinds for all they have to do with her and who she is. That her developmental trajectory defies comparison to anyone else’s. That she is following HER unique path in HER own time.
So we do our damnedest not to compare her to anyone but herself. Ever.
As it should be.
As she deserves from us.
As we all deserve from one another.
But human nature is a nasty little beast. She delights in drawing our eye where we don’t want it to go. Kick and scream though we might, she doesn’t relent until we turn our heads to that toxic Comparison – until we see the differences, so damned stark. The struggles, the deficits, so painfully real.
And suddenly the progress – the beautiful blessed, shining progress that we saw in the safe vacuum of No One But Us melts at our feet in the face of the Comparison. And then the guilt – good Lord, the guilt – for seeing it, feeling it, letting our kid down by letting it all in.
And human nature laughs heartily at her own cruel joke.
That was our story this weekend. The one I half-told yesterday. In a moment of weakness, we gave in to Comparison.
It doesn’t change a single thing about how much our incredible girl has accomplished or will accomplish. It doesn’t change how proud we are of her, how much we unabashedly adore her or how grateful we are for our family’s love and support.
It just hurt.