When I was pregnant with Gabriel, many of my friends were also pregnant at the same time. Naturally, when ladies get together, they talk and compare. We compared pregnancy experiences, from what makes you nauseous to what food you can’t get enough of. We compared our growing bumps: how high, how low, how narrow, how wide. We compared weight gain, doctors, baby showers, baby names, and on and on. After our babies were born, the comparing didn’t stop. Breast feed or formula, sleeping through the night or still waking up every couple of hours, feeding schedule or on-demand, let them cry themselves to sleep or rock them. The list of comparisons grew even more when our children approached Kindergarten. What school? What curriculum? What extra-curricular activities? Comparisons can be informative, but they can also be harmful. I’ve learned this lesson too many times.
When Gabriel did not reach all the speech and language milestones, the common ground I had with my friends began to split. But still, at 3 and 4 years old, kids aren’t very discriminating. Gabriel and the other children still played happily together. But soon after 4 years old, the split deepened. One child asked me, “Why does Gabriel talk funny?” Another comment to us was “I think there’s something wrong with his brain.” I know that these were just curious thoughts from children. They didn’t mean any offense by it, but as a mom, my heart broke as I saw one more significant comparison. My Gabriel was different from the other kids.
It’s not that I wanted him to be just like the other children. I just wanted him to be accepted, differences and all. We’re so wired that way, aren’t we? No matter how different we are or want to be, we feel this human need for connection and companionship. Isn’t that why we blog?
Gabriel is 7 years old now. Invitations to birthday parties and sleepovers are rare, and the few times he’s been invited, he is usually found playing by himself. Sigh! It can still be a struggle for me … comparing, that is. That’s why I cancelled my Facebook account. 🙂
Above all else (above birthday invitations, above peer acceptance, above friendships), my desire for Gabriel is that he will find the truest friend in Jesus. Jesus will never disappoint. Jesus will never leave him nor forsake him. And Jesus loved him to the point of death. “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)
(Photo Credit: Mike Johnson – TheBusyBrain.com)