Thursday, July 23, 2015

We Need a Secret Handshake

My dad is a biker. I've spent many an hour on the back of a motorcycle, weaving between cars and soybean fields. Whenever we pass another motorcycle my dad's left hand drops from the handlebar in greeting. So does the other biker's. It's cool. It's community, without saying a word.

I remember my former stepmom telling me the story of when she dated an older guy when she was in high school.  She was busted when her dad shook hands with the guy. Apparently, they were both Masons, and they have a secret handshake.

I escape my house for short solo errands with increasing regularity these days. When I'm out on my own, it isn't obvious that I'm a mom to a child with special needs. When I see other people from the disability community I want to say "Hello there, keep up the good work!" without being a complete weirdo and actually saying it. And frankly, sometimes when I'm by myself, I don't feel much like talking. Between raising one extreme extrovert and two other children learning how to talk, I'm tired of chatting. We need a secret handshake.

When I'm feeling particularly brave I decide to go out with my kids. (Besides therapy, that doesn't really count) It's usually the grocery store. And only if we're all having a good day. I try to truck it through the store to keep it a good day. I don't have time to visit. When dashing the aisles with my cart of kids and calories, it would be nice to have a way to acknowledge our community, without stopping to say a word.

My son's disability isn't always visible. If he's happy and wearing pants, most people would never guess his diagnoses. If he's screaming, grabbing his ears and showing off his MFOs/AFOs, our reality is a bit more obvious. On the invisible days I need that secret handshake to let others know I'm in the club, too.

Only it can't be a handshake.

Our hands are already full. And our feet are usually moving at a rapid clip. I'm thinking we need a wink, and pointy finger-thing. Sorta like the Fonz. But no thumbs up, because we're inspired by him, not replicating him. We won't say, "hey" or click our mouths when we do the wink. That's a bit too much.

I can already hear one sister's eyes rolling while the other one calls me a dork. So I'm open to suggestions. But, really, we need a secret handshake.

Me and my ticket in:

copyright (c) Elizabeth, Bug's Beef. All rights reserved.

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