One thing L'Arche has taught me since I've been here, is that, everybody is normal.
I mean, I know realistically this is not true. There are definitely some whack jobs out there (I'm pretty sure I work with some...) But honestly, I always forget that the folks I live with aren't what our society considers normal.
I live with them, so I talk to them and see them every day. I understand what they're saying when, to you, it might sound like mumbling. I know when they are playing attention games, or when they actually need my help. I see them for the real, genuine, and sometimes super annoying and bratty, people they are.
I had to laugh at myself today. We went out for supper, and after, the fam was getting out of the van. I helped Jay in, and went to take off my coat, when I realized Miss M was missing from the gang. I went outside, and she was standing beside the van, waiting for me to come down and walk with her.
Now, you have to give me a break. I work... a lot. Like, 21 hours a day, a lot. Sometimes I lose patience. Miss M is perfectly capable of walking to the front door by herself. I'm cold, tired and don't have shoes on. I am not walking her up.
"Miss M, come up here, I'm not coming down to get you!"
"Miss M, seriously, come here!"
"Miss M, do you really want to stand out here in the cold all night?!"
"Miss M, act like the grown woman you are!"
As I gradually transformed into a slightly taller version of my mother, Miss M just stood in the driveway staring at me. Frustrated, I went inside and got my coworker Sam. I know Sam was out there with her for a bit, but it felt like she got Miss M inside on her own in no time. M totally likes her better than me.
But anyways, I got off track. When I take the folks out, people give us looks. Miss M in particular, because she loves babies, and will always try to touch them. I forget this is weird sometimes. I casually swat her hand out of the air and smile at the parents. Oh well, Miss M really just thinks they're cute! I'll catch people giving me looks, and I totally don;t realize why right away (and if I do, I always try and stare right back).
I like the me who sees everyone for the great people they are better than the old me. A mental delay or disability does not effect your soul. It'd be nice if more people really understood that.
- ella faye