One day a month or so ago, Landon came to me upset that someone from the other side of our neighborhood (who's never met him before) walked up to him in front of our house and asked "why do you walk funny?"
In my mind I thought is this really the first time this has happened? Surely it's not. However up until this point, I must have been there every time ready to intercept any questions or comments, the good-intentioned and the insensitive. I'd always given some vague positive response about how it's hard for him and how hard he's working as I smiled and walked away. I didn't really want to talk about it, didn't feel it was anyone's business and I just wanted to protect Landon. Protect, stay positive, keep going... that's all my heart was capable of up until this point. Even then, there were times that innocent comments would crush me. I'd hold it together in front of my kids until I could hide in my room and ugly cry.
So here he is standing in front of me wondering how to cope with feelings of embarrassment that he walks different than other people do. "Why was I given this body mom?" My mama heart couldn't have hurt any more to hear him ask that question. It was one of those moments I knew God had been preparing me for, giving me the strength, giving me the words. It was time to teach him to embrace who he is, to be proud of who he is, every single piece of who he is. We talked through different ideas of what he could say to someone if he were in that situation again. We practiced over and over. He sobbed. My heart broke. I wanted to fix it but knew I couldn't.
I felt impressed to have a conversation with all of my kids. I knew this affected all of us, that his brothers were aware of the pain that Landon was feeling and because they love him so much they felt it too. I called them all into the family room. I was overcome with emotion. I told them that when we came to this earth that God gave us the gift of a body, but that it was just one of many gifts we were given. That God gave each of us many beautiful gifts. I talked about how beautifully their gifts complement each other and our family. I told them that everyone has their strengths and everyone has their struggles in life. That when we feel sad and discouraged about something that's hard for us, we aren't alone. We are all unique and different. The world would be so boring if we were all the same. I talked to them about being proud of who they are because God created them to be exactly the way they are.
To be honest, it felt like one of those parenting moments where you wonder if much is sinking in. I hoped to at least plant a seed that day. It was a turning point for all of us. Our hearts were ready for more.
Embrace, trust, let your light shine.