(31 Days) A Difficult Mind: Day 6, Looks Normal to Me

I’ve joined the 31 Day Blogging Challenge…31 Days of exploring what it means to live with a neurodiverse child.


Lunch date

A boy, age 7.5 who is in the 2nd grade lives at my house.

  • He likes Star Wars, Legos and Lego Star Wars.
  • He talks, walks, runs.
  • He argues about homework and eating mushrooms.
  • He wears a size 8 and prefers T-shirts to dress shirts any day of the week.
  • He is an avid mystery reader and likes really cheesy jokes (Q.What do you call Luke Skywalker on an airplane? A. Luke Flywalker!).

By all accounts he appears “normal”.

A boy, age 7.5 who is in the 2nd grade lives at my house.

  • He memorized the Star Wars Encyclopedia word for word, including page numbers, on summer break. He sorts his Lego mini figures by body part and accessory.
  • He talks until he has completed his thought, interrupting him might induce a tantrum. He walks around but always has to be touching, handling or hitting something. He runs far enough away that we’ve sent a search party looking for him.
  • He argues until he wins, gets his way or is exhausted to the point of tears and he eats constantly because he can’t remember if he has or hasn’t eaten or when or how much.
  • He prefers T-shirts and shorts when its -10 outside instead of coats and gloves because his tolerance for pain is through the roof.
  • He  reads so far ahead of his grade level we are running out of books. He will tell cheesy jokes but doesn’t understand when someone tells him a joke.

By all accounts he is not “normal”.

And this is the tension parents with difficult minded children live in, our children look completely functional on the outside, by their inside is a mess. This affects the parent and the child on some very difficult levels.

The child…

  • He doesn’t know and understand that he is different. In his mind, everyone is like he is.
  • He doesn’t understand why people react to him so intensely, why they don’t “get it”.
  • He feels lonely – a lot and is often labeled as “weird” by his peers and “difficult” by adults.

The parent…

  • My parenting is constantly judged by those who don’t know me.
  • I constantly fight the tension of telling everyone my son struggles and telling no one.
  • I’m daily faced with the choice to see my son as a normal boy or as a Difficult Minded boy.
  • I regularly fight the sadness that comes when I see all the other normal kids my sons age.

BUT, at the end of the day, my son is not his diagnosis. My son is not his difficult mind. My son is not his anger, confusion, immaturity or anxiety.

My son is a human being. He eats and sleeps and breaths. He plays and jokes and imagines. He dreams and anticipates and desires.

My son is flawed. I’m flawed. If all humanity has one thing in common it is that we are all flawed. We struggle, we fail. We can look normal on the outside but carry deep struggles on the inside.

The best part…we don’t have to stay that way! My son will always have his struggles but they won’t always be the same struggles. He will change and grow and learn and adapt.

While most of us walk around in our average looking bodies with struggling souls remember we don’t have to stay where we are.

Grace. Grace provides the room to learn and to change. To grow and to develop. To understand and be transformed.

Grace looks different for all of us. Grace will look different for my son than it does for me. Perhaps grace will allow him to be less anxious or angry. Perhaps grace for me will allow me to put off judgment or come away from some of the sadness.

Grace is for you too. Do not be afraid to change. Embrace grace.  Let your outside and your inside begin to look the same. Human, flawed. Redeemed and beautiful.


“Hope and sorrow in it all there’s rescue and there’s not.”

There’s Rescue: My son is graced with the ability to learn and grow and change.

There’s Not: Growing and changing is hard and is often behind his peers and siblings. One day he will realize this, on that day I hope my love for him and God’s grace for him carries him far.

Today I am thankful for grace. I am thankful for a son who is how he was meant to be, regardless of his flaws in the midst of his apparent normal body. I am grateful that I am still loved with all my flaws. Grace.



*Talking about grace and linking up with Unforced Rhythms today.


7 thoughts on “(31 Days) A Difficult Mind: Day 6, Looks Normal to Me

  1. Thank you for your honesty. I am re-learning how to parent my son who is a Highly Sensitive Child (it’s a thing) as well as perhaps ADD/ADHD. It’s more challenging that I imagined. I appreciate your perspective that there is room to grow and change, but also that grace is with us each step of the way. Bless you!!

    • Leah ~ Just murmured a quick prayer for you and your son right now. There is grace and there is beauty, there is also sorrow and plain old long days. Be encouraged and know you are not alone, whatever kind of day it is! Blessings be yours today.

  2. I, too, am so very thankful for grace. For all of us. And especially when we forget to extend it to each other simply because we don’t understand someone else’s journey. Thank you for sharing so beautifully about yours. Glad to have found you at Unforced Rhythms.

    • Oh Beth, this struck a cord. “Because we don’t understand…” I am so guilty of not understanding and not taking the time or putting in the energy to understand. Thank you for your bold encouragement. Blessings friend!

  3. Pingback: (31 Days) A Difficult Mind: Day 13, Respite | To Be A Mom...

  4. Pingback: (31 Days) A Difficult Mind: Day 14, The Grief Cycle | To Be A Mom...

  5. Pingback: (31 Days) A Difficult Mind: Day 18, Selfishness | To Be A Mom...

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