I had one of those moments this morning on the way to work. It was a moment that I’m still trying to fully unpack in retrospective because at first It was me trying to teach him how to be a man, but what really happened was he taught me what it takes to be one. It was one of those double wins.
My son has a really rare condition called Trisomy 8 – 128 kids have it world wide last count and usually about 100 of those don’t make it. Every day we have Corey with us is a day that I’m reminded how lucky and grateful I am to have this kid in my life, and moreover how despite all things he has going for him he still isn’t out of the woods yet – this each day is a gift.
This morning he saw a disabled man hobble across the road and despite all the surgeries, difficulties and social issues he faces daily he still looked at this man as being a lesser – not in a malicious way but in a way of empathy and pitty. It initially made me a little angry because my dad always taught me that a disability is extra weight on a person, much like a racehorse gets in a race. They still face the same challenges as us, but they are weighed down with extra to make it harder for them but we’re never to treat them any different. I wanted to pass this kind of thinking onto my son, to push the idea that you remember that people aren’t normal, some just hide it better.
This is my best moment with Corey to date..
*Corey watches disabled man with shorter leg than the other and hooked arm walk across the crosswalk on the way to school this morning*
Corey: Dad… what’s wrong with that man ..
Me: Well ..his body umm..his body isn’t the same as other peoples so he’s got some difficulties in walking so that’s why he hobbles. His arm probably wasn’t made the same as yours so it hooks in like that.
Corey: oh… poor man dad.. you should help him by like giving him a lift or something.
Me: …hmm… Let me ask you something, do you think that man is strong?
Corey: umm…strong like you …no…
Me: Well.. the thing is buddy, that man is probably the strongest man you’ll see all week. Think about it, he has all these problems with his body but he still gets up every morning, gets dressed, puts his backpack on and walks to the bus. He then goes to work and keeps doing that day in day out. That’s pretty strong.
Corey: ohhhh ok…
Me: Corey you have only one eye left you can see out of, you find it hard to speak your mind because your brain works faster than your mouth but you still get up every morning, try and sneak in a computer game or two before mum & i catch you and you go to school like that man. Does that mean both of you are now not strong?
Corey: No… I guess… i didn’t see it like that..
Me: Remember this moment mate, because people may look at you like you looked at him at times but remember that being strong isn’t about lifting heavy things or being able to fight people.. being strong is about getting up and facing the day by not using excuses on why you shouldn’t do something.
Whenever a kid teases you next time at school remember that they have all those abilities you and that man don’t have but they still aren’t happy and think that by making you feel bad is a way to be strong… when..well they aren’t, they are weak and lazy.
Corey: So …they are losers right..
Me: kind of, they are ignorant..
Corey: what’s that mean.
Me: it means they don’t know better, so next time it happens, just remind them of the difference but at the end of the day remember you don’t make excuses, you just get on with it.
Corey: I like this redstone book you bought me…
That pretty much happened word for word, and the thing I love about my sons attitude to life is that despite being dealt a really shitty hand he’s like a rhino, thick skinned and focused..nothing really gets him down, he just see’s life through the eyes of curiosity… and minecraft… mostly minecraft..