When I was pregnant with Noah, my beautiful friend Christina invited me to lunch. She brought her 1-year-old son to the restaurant, assured a terrified me that everything would be just fine, and told me that I would survive this thing called motherhood.
When her little boy started to throw a tantrum in the middle of our meal, she pinched his earlobe, ever so lightly, to get him to snap out of it. And I can't tell you why, but when she pinched that tiny ear, I knew I was going to be just fine.
Christina is one of the best mothers I know, and I've watched her carefully over the years, because she is just one short step ahead of me, and our friendship -- aside from being so valuable to me -- has served as a predictor of sorts: if our journey as mothers was the Oregon Trail, her wagon would be the first in line, dealing with all the locusts, and floods, and famine. Mine is just behind, bracing itself.
Yesterday, Christina posted this on Facebook.
"Mom...the kids at school say I'm weird." "That's ok bub. Different is good. Weird makes the world go 'round." "But I don't want to be different. I don't like being different." And then my heart broke into a million pieces. And I wanted to scoop up my kid and run away to a place where we could be our own weird selves and not worry about anyone saying anything. And then later when he wasn't looking, I cried. Because being a kid is hard. And being a mom is hard too.
And my heart twisted in pain for my friend, because I know there's no escaping this. Nobody gets a free pass when it comes to feeling rejected -- we ALL, at one point or another, feel the sting of not quite fitting in.
But my friend is right: weird does make the world go 'round. Weird is the place where things like creativity, and thoughtfulness, and strength grow. Weird is the winning ticket that you don't get to cash in until you've grown up. Weird is responsible for the great thinkers, and gifted musicians, and artistic geniuses of the world.
And normal? Normal is a one-way ticket to boring.
Plus it doesn't really exist.
I know that all of this means less than nothing to a 7-almost-8 year old who is being singled out. I know that my own little boy wants nothing more than to fade against the social backdrop, hoping desperately that nobody notices him enough to point out that the Velcro on his shoes means that he can't tie his laces so he must be a baby (or some other equally horrifying taunt...)
I know that no matter how much my friend and I try to convince our boys that Team Weird is the place to be, they aren't going to buy it. Because somehow, somewhere along the way, Team Weird got a bad rap. And I just really wish I could change that.
So here's the thing: I'm going to ask you people to help a couple mothers out. I'm going to ask you to help us make weird cool.
I made this print to share with all of you.
You can download it here
And now, I'm asking you to share it. Pin it, share it, print it out and hang it on the wall of your kid's bedroom. Remind them that weird is the new cool, and that it's totally okay to be different.
Me, and my weird friend Christina, would be ever-so-grateful.
Go Team Weird!