Maybe you saw us at Dairy Queen a few days ago. We were the family sitting at two separate tables. Mom, Dad, and one little sweetheart at one table. Three sweethearts at another table. Life is all about strategy for our family. If our two turtles sit at different tables then they can’t kick or hit each other. We get to enjoy our meal and those around us get to enjoy theirs.
Maybe you heard our two little girls burping. I’m sorry if that bothered you but they don’t often get to drink soda. It was a big deal for them. When foreign fizz enters their bodies it makes them burp. They really can’t help it. They said excuse me almost every time they burped. That made me proud. Maybe you heard the dad across the room burp while eating his meal. I did. I also heard his family scold him and it made me happy. Someone burped in public and it was someone from outside of my little village. It was a good day.
I know that you heard us in the toy section at Target. The two little girls who were talking way too loud belong to us. I put my finger up to my mouth and said the words “Shhhh. You’re too loud. I’m standing right beside you. You don’t have to talk that loud.” I don’t have any idea why I always do that. It never works. But at least I’m attempting to do my parental duty. Right? When the word Christmas is mixed with a Target full of toys it makes our girls have only one volume. Loud. Thank you to all of my fellow Target shoppers who were understanding. Thank you for not holding your ears or rolling your eyes. You made my day.
Did you notice how loud the music was in Five Below? I sure did. Shoppers didn’t seem to notice the volume of our girls voices because the music overpowered them. Thank you Five Below for taking the focus off of our girls. It was nice. But if you want a family with sensory processing disorder to shop in your store you need to turn the music down. And a restroom would be nice too.
I wish you could’ve met the nice employee who greeted us as we entered the Family Christian Store. She smiled as our girls got excited about the Christmas tree at the front of the store. She enjoyed our girls even when they were talking at full volume. She smiled as Mikayla and Hope brought me almost every Veggietale dvd and said “We have this one!” As she rang up my purchase she said “You have a lovely family!” I’ll have to admit that her comment caught me off guard. It was the first time that a stranger has told me that I have a lovely family. I could tell that she truly meant it. I smiled, I thanked her, and I floated out of the store on cloud nine.
You have a lovely family. I knew in my heart that what she said is true. It’s true even though life sometimes doesn’t feel lovely. There’s nothing lovely about sensory processing disorder. There’s nothing lovely about having a language disorder. When I find myself in the middle of the burping and the behavior issues and the therapies it doesn’t feel lovely. When I spend the majority of the day being a referee and telling our two little lawyers-in-training to stop arguing with each other it doesn’t feel lovely. When life constantly feels like a series of one strategy after another it doesn’t feel lovely. And when I’m so tired at the end of the day that I have to ask for help getting the girls to bed it doesn’t feel lovely.
But then God sent a stranger into my life. She looked at my life and she saw lovely. She saw our girls find joy in the simplicity of a Christmas tree. She didn’t mind when our girls were talking much more loudly than they needed to. She enjoyed watching them get excited over virtually everything that they saw and touched. And she decided that it was lovely. And that’s exactly how God looks at each of us. He sees everything that we go through. He sees every disorder. He knows when our behavior needs a little work. He sees us when we’re irritated, depressed, and ungrateful. And He still sees lovely.
I didn’t realize when I entered the Family Christian Store that I would receive an early Christmas present. But I did. I received a gift from a stranger. It wasn’t a gift that could be bought or wrapped. But it was a gift just the same. Perhaps is was the best gift that I could ever receive. It was the gift of a lovely family.