The "N" Word

     Last week I had the opportunity to speak with a mommy friend of mine that I haven't seen in ages and after the typical small talk and catching up and she revealed that her child is in the process of being evaluated for ADHD. It was said with a mixture of apprehension, longing and fear. I know that I was informed not because she and I are the closest of friends but because she knows that I am safe--I won't pass judgement on her parenting skills or her reasons for choosing to have her child evaluated; moreover, I can relate.

     "I told my [child]'s doctor that I didn't like to be around my [child]," she related to me in a moment of brutal honesty, all the while fighting back her tears. "I love [the child] more than myself but I hate being around [the child] sometimes." This revelation didn't shock me. Any parent that is really honest with themselves has moments where they don't like their children. I hear the age 14-20 is pretty much one long moment. What shocked me is how carefully she chose her words and how when the word "normal" was used she felt the need to define and categorize it. She fell all over herself apologizing because she lacked the vocabulary necessary to define MY child.
Making noise just to make noise is a
prime example of the "Porter
     If you've read my blog for any period of time I hope you realize that labels and words don't bother me when we are trying to speak a common language--that of compassion. This conversation with my friend left me wondering if the PC movement did us any favors at all. My friend and I couldn't even have a conversation between the two of us without choosing our words more carefully than most politicians.

     When did normal become a dirty word?

     As a parent of a special needs kiddo I know that it has. I've caught myself many times mid-syllable and choked, coughed and stuffed the word back down into the depths of my vocabulary. Although after, I am always left wondering why. Referring to my boys as normal in comparison to Myriam, doesn't change the fact that my daughter is autistic and it doesn't make her symptoms any worse but somehow we've all been convinced otherwise. I am not offended by the word. I've come to realise that normal is a state of mind; it's subjective!
     My normal is three children running through my house like a trio of speeding freight trains. My normal has a new moniker, The Porter Disorder!* It involves noise that rivals that of an airport runway, squabbling siblings, and repeating myself incessantly. In fact, it's a lot like ADHD but not so easily treated.
     When my family first began this journey with autism, if given the opportunity to make my daughter "normal" I would have taken it--in a heart beat. But now what I've realized is that we have done just that. There has been a shift in my mental paradigm. Autism is now normal.
*The Porter Disorder was coined by my Sister-in-law; a woman who shares my fondness for hyperactive, demon children. Pin It
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