We are often asked what is like in our family. We have all kinds of funny little phrases that we use to quickly describe it. My previous favorite was, “A tentless circus with lots of side shows.” This picture above is my new metaphor. Going forward, I am just going to show people this picture.
I am sure some of you who are wondering where this is going. Well, that is exactly the point, so without further delay, allow me to explain.
Beautiful is away right now, helping Princess and her Prince Charming with the birth of their own Princess (to be blognamed after I get to know her a bit better). That meant, I was on morning tidy up. After I had worked at for a bit and was feeling pretty good about the general state of the house, I noticed that I had walked by this little gem at least a half dozen times. Yes, that really is a botte of Pure Vanilla Extract. Normally, a bottle of vanilla extract wouldn’t even warrant notice, never mind becoming my new theme meme. However, this particular bottle was sitting in our living room right next to the TV.
My thoughts ran something like:
- Is that a bottle of extract?
- Yep, vanilla extract to be precise.
- That will make a really nice icing, but it will yellow a bit.
- Almond extract is a nice choice too.
- I wonder who put that in living room.
- I wonder what they were making.
- How about that, I didn’t even wonder why that was sitting there.
- Yep, this sort of thing is common enough that it did not even phase me.
And there it is: The very metaphor of plainness – vanilla, in completely the wrong place and this is perfectly normal for us. When you have special needs children in your family, you learn to expect the unexpected, and you learn that your normal is not like other people’s normal.
You drive through the neighborhood and see the immaculately trimmed bushes and edged yards, and you think, “Good for them! It must be nice to have that kind of time.” You see other kids running out to go play after school, while yours is hustled off to speech therapy. Other parents are posting their kids and their new sports trophy, or a picture from some exotic location while you are just trying to figure out which child has school the next day. You have to ask your child three different ways if he likes his quesadilla spicy of plain, because you’re not sure if he really understands the question (and he is giving you a different answer every time – turns out after 6 times, he likes them both, but he prefers not spicy). And you have big children that are still having toileting accidents. That is our normal. And we love it.
Ours is a blessed life. We live with some of the most amazing people on this planet. I am privileged to visit with, and enjoy them every day. And Beautiful and I have the responsibility of helping them find their way in the world. My only regret is that most of you will never have the chance to know these amazing people like we do. They see the world differently and they enjoy deep satisfaction in things we are “too busy” to see. They are eager to share that world with us every day and it constantly blows my mind.
That is our Vanilla Extract. It might look like everyone else’s, but ours is sitting in the living room, and we are just fine with that.