That's not the world I live in though, and neither do my kids. Today, I saw my Owen hang his head and force a smile during his yearly physical as I ran down his list of therapies; physical, speech, and behavioral. Then I added that he's been diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome. I know he's embarrassed. I've seen that look before, on the playground and coming out of school. Once, I asked him if anything was wrong and he quickly said, "No. Nothing hurt my heart."
That's not true, though. Lots of things hurt his heart. Noah's too. Which means that my heart hurts because their issues won't go away with time or practice. Autism, Tourettes, OCD, Downes Syndrome, Cerebral Palsey, and countless other disorders stay for the long haul. I tell my boys every day that they are perfect, that I'm proud of them, and (yes) that they are rock stars. I mean it, too. They work so hard every day to do what others are born knowing how to do, or learning how to control their rougue bodies or minds. They are so brave and inspirational. But my heart hurts, because they don't see themselves through my eyes. They just know that they are sometimes labeled unkindly by peers and some ignorant adults and, just like every other child in history, that's all they believe.
Which is why I'm doing this. Why I so desperately want "special needs flair" to catch on. I don't want any child who struggles bravely to feel marginalized. They should be celebrated and cheered on. They deserve to hold their heads up and smile brightly...for the long haul.