Most times I make breakfast for the kids, they are already loud and hollering through the house for one reason or another but today was one of those rare mornings where they were quiet, cooperative children. My daughter asked to help crack the eggs while I put the toast , my sons were late getting up, both in turn, and the loudest ongoing noise in the house was what little birdsongs filtered in through the garden window. It was a beautiful mourningly senses could leisurely take in.
I sent my daughter off to wash the eggs off her hands and took to season and stirring the eggs. As I often do, I thought of my dad while I did this. I have one memory of him scrambling eggs that has vividly stuck with me through the years. He was scrambling eggs in the kitchen and, after the eggs were cooked almost all the way through, he turned off the burner and let them sit. I was or was close to being a teenager, I should have already grasped the concept in action, but I still had to ask “Why did you do that?”. In my mind, he was leaving the eggs partly raw because he had turned the burner off while they were still shiny and that was very, very bad (as my mother had taught me).
There was some discourse I can’t quite remember and then he asked “Is the pan still hot?” “Yes.” “So, are the eggs still cooking?” “…Yes…?”
It was the first time I really marveled at my own lacking of basic concepts. It was like, I had finally realized for the first time, what my mother meant when she referred to me as her “artist” or “artistic personality”. I had always known and felt different, things that made sense to other people didn’t make sense to me or took me a long time to grasp. I felt like the Mad Hatter trapped in Stepford, I had to turn everything on it’s head and spin it around a few times before it was warped enough to make sense.
I am old enough now, I think, to understand how some people would see that as a “disability” or a shortcoming. Truth is, I’m okay with it. It’s HARD being different, it is ALIENATING being different, and it is so FRUSTRATING being different. People look at you like you’re crazy and condescend and, even come to avoid you because you see the world in a different way, one they have a difficult time understanding.
Thing is, we’re all different from one another. There is this idea of “normal” which is almost a myth. Yes, there is a general umbrella under which things are considered “normal”, but there is great variation within that categorization as well. Growing up, I was obviously a child going through childhood and, though I understood these things, I understand them so much more as an adult and to an even greater depth as a parent.
I look at my children, who are each so different from one another but who all still fall under that “normal” umbrella (in my opinion). I see how they have differences that have made or possibly will make them targets of those who would use mediocre normality as a power with which to taunt and bully.
I celebrate my kids differences and, as frustrated as my parents were with my own, I do think they tried to celebrate mine on occasion as well. Even if I did have a hard time understanding the principles behind cooking scrambled eggs.