I was in the handicapped stall with Brynn, who had spent 30-45 minutes deciding which toilet was "just right" when I heard the door open and the screeching of my firstborn. Toby reassured a lady at the sink, "Oh, that's just my brother. He freaks out."
Eventually we were on our way, with the towel rack and the spackling and R2, minus a few hairs. As the smaller kids got in the car, it struck me how normal this is to them. I spent the first 20 years of my life without ever getting very close to a special-needs kid, but for them, he's been there since the beginning. They have a natural grace and patience with him, and an uncanny understanding of what he can and can't do, as well as a casual acceptance of all kinds of people with disabilities. Some people just freak out, they think. Some people just need help getting around. It's simple.
I went to a special needs mom's support group a couple of weeks ago, and it was awesome and emotional, and I almost wrote about it, but I was on a string of emotional blog posts and felt the need to lighten it up. When I told Toby I had been to a meeting for mommies whose children had "hurt brains", he lit up. "You can take Richy there!" he exclaimed. "Those kids could play with Richy!" I don't know, that just got my heart a little, his excitement for something for Richy, just for Richy.
You know, if you have a special kid, or you're thinking about adopting a special kid, don't be afraid of how your "normal" kids, born or unborn will deal with "having" to grow up with an atypical sibling. Instead, understand and embrace that you are giving them an education in unconditional love, acceptance, unselfishness and compassion. One doctor told us that siblings of special kids often go into "helping" professions. Kids have big hearts, and we can learn a lot from their example.