There are four walls. Four walls that create our home. Four walls that have created a safe haven and a place that is a shelter for the three of us. Not just in a physical sense but in an emotional one.
The four walls have given me a perspective of Tyler that I wouldn't change. ( The perspective I wouldn't change, but I would make things easier for him. ) In these four walls we don't notice that he is different. In fact the only time we notice is when we leave the four walls. />
When we go places people look and people stare. At first I didn't notice or didn't want to notice. Every once in awhile the people who were staring would whisper or say things. Sometimes it was just curious questions and they were innocent. Sometimes they would be cruel and point and stare.
I became aware of words. Words like Retard, short bus, and slow. All those words that mean hateful, mean things. Things that we all laughed about at one point or used so casually we didn't think of the others around us. With the delays and the life we live we now those words affect us.
As Tyler is getting older we know he will be moving into a world where he is very different from his peers. He doesn't walk with a normal gait, his eyes don't look or work like others, and his talking is far from up to par. He has different actions than most and he sometimes acts MUCH younger than is "ancient" almost 5 years.
But the one thing he isn't is dumb.
He is aware that he can't do the things that other people do. They are harder for him. He wants to join in all by himself but he can't. He wants to be able to hop on a bike and pedal up the street. He wants to be able to chase a ball in the yard and throw it up. He wants to be able to all of those things.
I don't expect anyone to bend over backwards to include Tyler because I know that isn't going to happen. What I do expect is that you teach your children. Everyone is different. Not one person is "normal" or "regular." Some are smart, some wear glasses, some have red hair and some eat with a tube. Just because they are different than them they aren't bad, strange, weird, stupid or any other term you want to use.
In the four walls of our home he has only known people who accept him and love him and play with him. That is ALL he knows. He only knows love. He doesn't know hate. He doesn't know that he can't do something. He only knows that when he wants to try something someone is there to help him. There are no mean words.
Only people who love him remember to include him. They invite him to do things. They visit him when he is sick, they want to watch him. They learn his words, they take his pictures and they otherwise KNOW Tyler.
I can't make the four walls any bigger. I have to hope that other people have taught in their four walls that its OK to be different.
Out of the WHOLE experience today it made my heart hurt that I was not able to shelter him from hearing those words. That I was not sheltered from hearing those words. It made me sad that when I send him out into the world that I have failed to keep him safe.