"I don't think you understand the concept of FunLand." - Benjamin
I cried. Right there under the Paratrooper ride next to the hose for vomit. Right in the middle of FunLand with screams and laughs and smiles all around me. For the most part I think I went unnoticed. Parents too busy videotaping their children on rides for the first time, boys too busy trying to impress girls, kids too busy running away from their parents.
I'm sure I wasn't noticed. That is until Emma turns around and in an effort to speak above all the noise loudly says "Mom, you look like you might be crying!" And EVERYBODY and EVERYTHING stops. All the noise and rides are suddenly supernaturally suspended mid air and all eyes are on me. The void of movement is palpable. I'm pretty sure time stopped. Yes, yes, people, I'm crying, get over it. And they do in a matter of about 0.2 seconds because, thankfully, nobody really cares.
I cried at FunLand. How in the world does someone who is having a great, dare I say excellent, time with their family cry in the middle of a mini amusement park? Unfortunately I can't say it was out of happiness. Or I could and this little story could be over. I might seem like an overly emotional woman if I did that, but let's be honest...... I'm not that far from being an overly emotional woman. (Benjamin nods his head in agreement behind me.)
No, this is all because of one boy and girl. Strangers. Two people I see as we are standing in line with the kids. (This is not a walk down memory lane for Benjamin and myself, don't worry. It's not a story of nostalgia and the "good ol' days".) This young lady between the ages of, I'd say, 16 and 30 (is that safe enough?) is holding an oxygen tank that is connected to a young boy, probably early teens. He is an unusually short red head. I can recognize some of his facial features and movements, and could guess that there were some developmental delays although I can't say with absolute surety their extent. There is an instant familiarity. He was smiling, walking around, happy and thoroughly enjoying himself. I have no idea who the girl was to him but she was so sweet and appeared to be enjoying herself as well.
Okay, so you are probably thinking that I cried because it was oh so adorably sweet. And it was, but you'd be wrong. Or at least partially wrong. To be honest, I'm not 100% sure why I cried. I'm still trying to figure it out myself. But I think it had to do with the fact that I related in so many ways to them. To these people I had never seen before. It was like looking in from the outside.
To be more clear, I live my life, like everybody, IN my life. I'm inside the circumstances. Everything that happens, the way we do things is just part of our life. It's natural. It's the way things need to be done. It just is. When we go out I don't always think about the fact that we are operating with a special needs child. I mean, I do... but I don't think about the fact that other people see us and recognize that we are different.
At FunLand, I was the "other people." But I was the "other people" with the ability to relate.
Yes, I think it touched me in a way that it can't touch others who haven't had experience with a special needs child, but it was more than that. It was also the fact that he reminded me of Theodore. I know that Theodore is different and that he will be different probably for life. I know that there are so many unknowns with him. But I don't think about that. This caused me to think about these things. It was like looking at Theodore in the future. He may very well be that short. He may very well always be noticeable in a crowd. He may not develop to the point of a normal functioning adult.
I don't say any of that to be sad or seem defeated. But I live everyday IN that day and this took me outside of that and helped me to view it instead of live it.
I have no idea if I've made any sense. I just know that those two people will always be precious to me. I just know that I cried at FunLand.