Jack had his two year check-up on Monday. Good news. He's normal!
Before I had Jack, if you would have asked me to tell you my hopes & dreams for my future children, I would have said I want them to be exceptional. I want them to be free-spirits & free-thinkers. I want them to have the courage to stand up for what is right & just, to protect those who are easily victimized, to love those who are unlovable, to be anything but average, normal.
But, as I felt Jack growing inside of me, and was quite certain that what was in my belly was more likely to be an alien than a child, I just prayed that he would be normal. Please don't let him be deformed. Please don't let him have a neurological disorder. Please just let him be normal.
I still have those same hopes for Jack in his future. But, most days I just want to be reassured that yes, my child is normal. I just want to know that the things we experience together that are so foreign to me are, indeed, the normal things you encounter when living with a toddler.
John & I find Jack to be exceptional for a 2 year old. We are constantly telling each other about things he did or said, ways he's made us laugh during the day. We remark about the funny way he says hello ("Hoooe!"), and the sweet way he says thank you (oh my, he's so polite). His funny little breakdance moves impress us & we both love the way he cheers John on at softball games ("Allright Da!"). And, we're quite certain that Jack's grandparents would elevate him to genius level.
And, while he is exceptional to us, him mom & dad, it's surprising to be given a list by the doctor of characteristics of a 2 year old and find out, well, he's just normal...
-walks up & down stairs...check
-jumps from a step....check
-often negative & prone to temper tantrums...check, check
-shy with strangers....check
-mimics & imitates....check
and on & on. Check, check, check...
It's of course reassuring to know that he's hitting all of his milestones & he's where he's expected to be developmentally. But, as a person who often doubts herself & wonders how important her life is, it's even more reassuring to realize that Jack isn't an exceptional person because of what he does, because of how much he has accomplished, because, let's face it, he hasn't accomplished anything by worldly standards & everything he does is pretty typical of your average 2 year old. And, he's not unexceptional because he's normal or average.
He's exceptional because he's loved & created by God. Because he's loved by his parents. Because he is a unique creation, no matter how "normal". I've often said that Jack could grow up to be a garbage man & I wouldn't be any less proud of him (this is not to speak lowly of garbage men...I think you all get that!). I need to remember those things for myself too, especially when I'm sure my brain is leaking out of my ears as I sleep at night due to lack of use & I wonder what I've really accomplished in my 30 years. What really matters is the relationships we have, the way we love those around us, the way we love our Creator. The rest is just the normal stuff of life...