Sometimes I play this destructive, useless game called, “Who would I pick for my kid if I hadn’t gotten this one?”

It came up big time on Wednesday. I am the art docent for the second grade, which means that once a month I go into Joseph’s class, line up reproductions of paintings, and speak about them. Then we do an art project related to the theme. It’s a lot of fun, and the kids love it.

When my mind tortures me, it’s usually with visual scenes rather than words. It’s been replaying Wednesday’s visual a lot. There I am, speaking about how artists portray birds. The kids are attentive and engaged, enthusiastically raising their hands to make a comment or point something out in a painting.

That is, 17 of the kids are engaged. One has his body turned sideways, with his head turned toward the back of the room. I know you can guess who I’m talking about. At one point I decide to call on him anyway.

“Joseph,” I say, “What is one word you’d use to describe this scene?” It is a beautiful, realistic painting of eagles soaring in the sky. Joseph turns toward the front, says, “White, blubbery, blurry birds,” and looks backwards again.

It was after that that I started to play the “Which kid would I want other than mine” game. That night, crying to Blue Eyes, I told him that I would take 16 of those 17 kids over the one I got. The only reason I passed on one kid is because he’s terribly whiny and rebellious.

Yup…compared to neurotypical kids, Joseph is no picnic.

Kai and JoeToday we went to Abilities Basketball, which allows people with disabilities, physical or developmental, to get the sports experience. It is non-competitive, supportive, and great fun for the athletes. Kids with Downs, kids with brain damage, kids in wheelchairs, kids missing chromosomes…you name it, they’re here.

Looking at the various disabilities of these kids, I started playing that game again. I know, I know — I should give up this game. But looking around at the others, I saw how great it was that Joseph walks and runs on his own. He can shoot the ball into the hoop on his first try. Physically, he looks neurotypical. He understands what he’s doing out there on the court. So this time the choice was easy: Joseph won, hands down.

Neurotypical friends. Joseph has his chin in his hands.

Neurotypical friends. Joseph has his chin in his hands.

I feel he doesn’t really fit in anywhere – that he’s stuck somewhere between neurotypical and impaired.

Joseph, on the other hand, feels he fits in everywhere. I don’t think he sees any difference between the kids in class and the kids on the team. They are his friends, they are fun, and that’s that.

As an art docent, I occasionally come upon a painting that looks at a scene from an unusual perspective. It is fun to look down, rather than up, at a bird soaring in the open blue sky.

This is what I come to after a week of playing the torturous “Which kid would I pick” game: God must have his own perspective, seeing me in ways I do not. He knows what I most need. He knows my karma, my tests and trials, where my deepest growth needs to take place.

One time, Yogananda was involved in a ritual where he gave a rose to each of his students. One woman didn’t want the yellow rose he handed to her; she wanted the red one. The Master said, “You take what I give.”

What I need is what God gives me. And God gives me Joseph. May I have the grace to embrace my son for all that he is and all that he is not – to love him fully, and trust that God has a greater perspective than I do on this one.

No more destructive game-playing. This week is about fully accepting, embracing and trusting what already is.