A happy story, although it still involves crying

Last night, when I was giving Maybelle her bath, she and I were singing Christmas carols.  I got about halfway through "Rudolph" before stopping suddenly and yelling, "Biffle!  'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer' is a song about the social construction of disability!"

He poked his head into the bathroom, eyes rolling.  "Um, yeah.  You're just figuring that out?"

Yes, I was just figuring it out--or perhaps just figuring it out in the context of my life right now.  Rudolph has a nose that's so unusual that everyone laughs at it and makes fun of it.  They've made it into a disability, a stigma, a source of shame.  Santa reframes the nose, recognizing it as an example of embraceable human diversity.  Then all the reindeer loved him.  Disability is socially constructed.  There was nothing wrong with Rudolph.

This morning Maybelle's preschool had an advent service.  The toddlers weren't performing, but all the older kids were.  The room was filled with kids and parents, and Maybelle was riveted.  She sat on Biffle's shoulders watching the kids attentively, and when they sang, she was so excited!  She clapped and cheered.  It seemed to me--and this is not just my parental bias--that she was paying more attention than many of the others in the toddler class.  It was great fun for me.  Yesterday a friend suggested I think of this year's holiday season as The Year Maybelle Was Really Old Enough To Enjoy Christmas For The First Time, and this morning I got an experience of that.

Then the kids broke into "Rudolph," and while Maybelle banged on Biffle's head in joyful accompaniment, I had to rustle around in my purse for kleenex.


Anonymous said...

I know,I know - it's amazing what things open up to a fresh perspective through our kids isn't it?
But I've always loved the underdog so I always loved Rudolph who comes to a peaceful happy place of acceptance after some painful lessons. I'm hoping for less painful lessons for mine sigh...

The Mom said...

That is definitely one of the joys of parenthood - seeing the world afresh though our children's eyes. And it just keeps on happening! I can experience that joy again watching my daughter's joy in her daughter's awe of all that is!

Quiche said...

"Olive the other reindeer" was the mean insensitive one, according to my son Baird (:

Danielle said...

This made me smile.