When Wil was born, I wondered on his differences. How would they separate him from making friends? How would his differences separate him from living a full life? What I didn’t know was Wil’s differences would become woven so deeply into our daily lives that they would be our norm.
One example is Wil’s dancing. When the mood strikes, Wil busts a move down the aisles of Target, Busch’s or Meijer. Wil gets jazzed going shopping with his sisters, because there are mirrors hanging everywhere to dance in front of.
Chopping vegetables with me for dinner is always a hip wiggling activity for Wil, and a car ride another opportunity to belt a tune out the window.
Wil’s had the music in him for so long, it’s ingrained in our lives. I forget that not everyone dances whenever the mood strikes, or bounces to the beat in their car seat, until a stranger gives Wil a smile as he rocks out to his own tune. I smile inwardly to myself, as I smile outwardly back to the stranger, how one-dimensionally I once viewed what differences meant.
Wil’s dear friend, Sarah, is a ballerina. Sarah is graceful in every sense of the word. She is tall and lithe, and practically floats on air when she walks. Wil has low muscle tone so he lands flat-footed with a slight side-to-side gait. I love watching the two friends walk together, because they could not carry themselves more differently. Sarah, however, always makes a point to walk at Wil’s speed, and when he talks, she leans over so they are eye-to-eye. Then, I can almost predict at some point during their conversation, Sarah will throw her head back laughing at something Wil shared with her. And they always find time to share a dance. It’s been that way since preschool.
On Wil’s 14th birthday, Sarah wrote in a beautifully-crafted handmade card to him:
“I am so lucky to know you. You are so amazing and always make me laugh. Goodness, you’ve gotta be the funniest person on this Earth! Your laugh is so contagious. I always have fun walking around with you and talking about lots of things. Hope you have the best birthday bud!”
As I read Sarah’s words, my eyes welled with tears. I now wonder, these 14 years later, how on earth did the differences I once so worried on become a true blessing? That this life, that such friends, have woven themselves into the dance of our lives as our norm.
At one time differences stopped me in my tracks. Now, all I see are blessings in the dance.