I was bending down to let the dog outside when he jumped up and his hard little head hit the bridge of my nose. I thought it was broken. I thought blood was going to come gushing out.
It didn't. But it hurt. Like. Heck.
I chose that moment to yell at Colin for not trying hard enough to engage in conversation with the guys at church who were trying hard to make conversation with him.
"Colin, you have to try! Colin, I know you don't like it, but this is the way it works! Colin! Are you listening to me?!"
And I started to cry a big, nasty, ugly cry of frustration and literal pain.
"Mom? I'm sorry."
"Mom? I didn't mean to make you cry."
I couldn't stop crying, but I knew somewhere in the back of my mind that one of us needed to pull herself together and be the parent. After blowing my nose and hugging Colin much harder than he would have liked, I helped him clip his fingernails. While we worked, Colin was quiet.
After a while he said, "Mom, do you wish I was normal?"
Normal. What the heck is "normal," kid? Who's "normal" anyway? Nothing in my life has ever seemed to be "normal." Three doctors said your dad and I would not have children, but without one fertility treatment, there you are. Is that normal? Is it normal for you to have adult siblings and a toddler brother? But who loves you more in this world than those three? Is it normal for a 12-year-old boy to play the piano in such a way that makes grown women cry? In a way that even the jaded husband of your piano teacher leaves his hearing aides in when you come to play? Is it normal for you to be the only kid in your Awana group to be working for the top award at your level? Do I wish you were less thoughtful? Do I wish you worked less hard? Do I wish you didn't see the world in your own special way? Do I wish I didn't know in my very heart of hearts that God has something amazing planned for you?
"Colin," I said. "You are perfectly normal to me."