Raising Pinocchio

Tales on raising a child with autism and the kismet of living in semi-rural suburbia.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


I'm a Cape Cod curtain in a chorus of sheers

It is by the grace of God that we don't recognize life-defining moments as they are occurring. As we get older, we're better equipped to understand that when these moments happen, it is simply to reaffirm one's lot in life. I suppose there truly are people whose lives are defined by the times they were dubbed "Prom Queen," "Most Likely to Succeed," or even "Concert Master." Unfortunately, I was not so lucky. My life defining moment came at the ripe old age of 8 years old. I was a Brownie in the local league of Girl Scouts. For some reason I could not comprehend at the time, I never fit in with that organization. While other girls pursued and achieved their badges with a vengeance, I was content to do the minimum in order to acquire my "sewing" and "cooking" badges. Everyone else seemed to make friends immediately, whereas I struggled to overcome the awkwardness of approaching new people. Part of the reason for this may have been my early dive into puberty, which caused me to sky rocket upwards approximately 5 inches over my peers. No matter where I went (and continue to go), I always feel like the banana in a bowlful of apples -- standing out for all to see. It was this very trait that helped to shape the incident that thereafter would define my life.

Being a forgetful young girl, I'd forgotten to bring home the pattern for the Hula outfit that all we Brownies would be wearing at our Girl Scout pageant. We had learned a dance and I could recall the Scout leaders discussing how the outfit should flow like a grass skirt -- this was about as much information as I could give my mother, who was charged with the duty of creating such a costume out of a set of curtains (that was the other part I remembered ... the outfit should be made of curtains). I grew up in a house with tailored curtains: 2 tiered with pretty ruffles all around. Naturally, my mother made MY outfit out of those. I no longer remember the color, nor do I remember how she actually designed a Hula outfit from Cape Cod curtains, but somehow she did. The night of the Girl Scout pageant arrived and I proudly strolled backstage with the rest of my troop. Bottom jaws could be heard actually smashing to the floor when they saw the creation this tall, fish-belly-white girl had draped over her. While all the others wore glorious outfits made of sheer, flowing fabrics, my outfit had tapers and ruffles and tiebacks. Though I knew the dance better than anyone, they placed me in the back row. To no avail. Being taller than anyone else, by far, I stood out like the proverbial sore thumb. I can even remember waving to my parents (trying in vain to hide in the far back corner), thereby attracting even more attention. Were the chuckles I heard in the audience caused by my outlandish attire or by delight in the dance? I'll never know.

Such incidents occur even today, 30 years later. These days, however, I realize and accept the foibles of my life, cherishing them for providing me with the unique situations in which I often find myself. A pattern was developed a long time ago ... beginning when I crawled across the front of the classroom in 2nd grade because I didn't want to be included with those standing to be counted for buying their lunch (and heard the teacher whisper to her helper, "What on Earth is she doing?!"), continuing on through a few weeks ago when I proudly (and falsely) presented a "homemade" apple pie to my in-laws only to discover after cutting it in front of everyone that it was actually cherry. These are the incidents that keep us humble. I must be one of the most humble people on this planet.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since I got up so early today, thought I'd give you a look. You had me laughing hysterically...complete with tears from my eyes. Thanks for starting my day on a high note. love, Your Mom

4:07 AM  
Blogger coralseas said...

And you still stand head and shoulders above the rest, in more ways than one. What better way to show that we are part of this amazing, diverse world than by not conforming? It's the ones who stand out that we notice. A wonderful post, thankyou!

3:49 AM  

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