How much is that kiddie in the window?

I went to the neighborhood grocery for a fish head yesterday (don’t ask) (no, they didn’t have it). Just inside I notice two of the cutest kids playing, they were brother and sister, around four years old I would guess. I could be wrong on the age, because, well, I’ve never had normal kids. My first thought was “Cool, they are selling kids at this store now, I’m gonna get  me a normal one!” I am not around them much, and that does not make me happy. Turns out they belonged to a great neighborhood guy who I’ve said hello to (and knows my daughter), and no, they were not for sale.

People, friends and family included, have always been hesitant to talk about their kids fearing that it would hurt me somehow. Even worse, we are not included in things, parties, outings, etc. When my daughter was young and in a fully integrated classroom, she would occasionally be invited to a birthday party, almost always to an inaccessible home. As she grew up, that stopped. Neighbors don’t include us in things, nor do many family members. Worse, others are afraid to talk about their kids. They don’t feel they can share. If my kids were normal, you know they would tell me how great their kids are.

It is bad enough that my son will never play little league, but we don’t get asked to watch our friend’s kids play. Why not? My daughter would love that, actually we go down the street and watch strangers play and enjoy it. I’ve taken her to various “houses of worship” to the same reception, people do not want to talk to us, they have no idea what to say.

I have no idea what it is like to have a normal kid, and I want to know. Just because my daughter won’t get thrown out of school for smoking dope or doing some boy in the playground, and your daughter won’t have seizures or die of aspiration in her sleep is no reason not to include us in normal father – daughter, neighbor – friend stuff.  Tell me how great your kids are and invite me and my daughter to their recital. Let’s take our kids to the aquarium, the zoo, the park. You know that big rock by the swings? We have fun sitting there watching people play, why not say hello? I am talking friendships here, you know, I could use a male friend or two who’s not afraid of my situation.

She’s not just a vegetable in a wheelchair (can’t believe I said that), I am not a poor sympathetic loser pushing her. She has a mind, a soul, a personality, yes, a sense of humor. I have advanced degrees, own companies, and was once the opening act for Steve Wright. Hey, I pee’d in the same urinal as Babe Ruth, ask me about it. (Many years later, of course, and I am not sure it was ever cleaned since he used it!).

I am friends with a married couple, two 25 year olds who recently left all their family and moved across the country to my city. They come to dinner about three times a month, we are in touch weekly. Why? The guy’s grandfather was a major force in my formative years, but that’s not why. First, I like them. Second, I will never have children that can tell me about their graduate studies, their daily grind, that will need help with some stuff, or look for advice. They are the age my normal kids should be. Third, when I was their age and left home, a family helped me and now I am repaying them, by passing that help along. These two are not my kids, no, I’ll never have kids like them. But does a bit of vicarious living hurt? Is it ok to learn what normal is by helping out some good people, indirectly paying a debt (of gratitude, but a debt nonetheless), and just having some great dinners and conversation? Is it ok to sometimes say, wow, wish I had two of those?

How much were those kids in the window?


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