Friday, April 3, 2015

"I know, it's the glasses"

The gradual end of isolation brings with it comments from strangers. Today marked our first timid outing of the year, to attend the Good Friday service. We stuck to the sides and backs of the church and applied hand sanitizer so liberally that one of the ladies watching us smiled the third time we reached for it. Since we are new to the community, people don't know us well. Since Jonathan's been in isolation, people have never really seen him before. He's got a face that's hard to forget.

Mostly we heard, "Oh MY goodness!! He IS    SO   CUTE."
And we responded, "I know, it's the glasses."

But also other comments.
"How old is he?" (gulp)

This time followed by, "It's obvious he's REALLY smart." 

To which I of course reply, "Thank you,"

But inside a little knot tangles and untangles as I think:
"Maybe? I'm glad you think so, but I'm not sure I dare to hope... you don't know it, but he's in special education because of his significant delays. That doesn't usually  equate itself to 'really smart.' He may forever be in special education. But I love the way he sees the world, and watching him watch us encourages me and gives me joy. In the end, does it matter? Do labels matter, and even if they do, does THAT label matter? I try so hard to believe labels are nothing compared to the kid. Smart or not, he's still himself, and that's worth so much."

In the end, perhaps the best response is, simply,
"I know. It's the glasses."