The soothing aroma of cinnamon rises from my glass tea cup as I look outside. It’s mid-morning on a sunny Florida day. A few wispy clouds linger on the bright blue horizon as a soft breeze touches the tree limbs in a sweet caress. The coffee shop offers a cold taupe granite countertop which holds my laptop.
As I string words together for my memoir, I enjoy soft piano music playing in my ear. Over the soft melody, I hear a baby babbling in a stroller behind me. I smile. I attempt to focus on the computer screen. The baby continues to coo. Then I realize, Samuel makes these same sounds.
I turn around see two ladies sitting at the table with a stroller to the side. A woman with blonde hair holds the baby in her arms.
“How old is your baby?”
The other woman answers, “She’s eighteen months.”
“She making sounds like my son.”
“Oh, how old is your son?”
I hesitate to answer. In the many times I have been asked this question, I face the same dilemma. My son doesn’t look like his age. In this case, how do I explain an eight year old who is still in the cooing stage. Sometimes, I’m tempted to say he is 8. Perhaps they’ll think he’s 8 months, not 8 years old.
“My son is eight years old. He has a rare form of dwarfism called Thanatophoric Dysplasia.”
The woman holding the baby chimes in. “Oh, how interesting.”
I smile. “He’s eighteen pounds and twenty-four inches long.”
The mother looks at her daughter. “That’s how much Brianna weighs.”
I look at her daughter who’s legs and arms are much longer than Samuel. Mental note: my son is smaller than an eighteen month old. I don’t dwell on Samuel’s size in comparison to other children but it’s in moments like these I can’t escape the fact.
We chat for a few more moments and then say our goodbye’s. The café is quiet now with only a few people left enjoying a solitary cup of brew. I pack my laptop, sling my purse strap over my shoulder and walk to my car. It’s not until later when I reflect on the encounter noting my journey is a unique one. Though different, I understand my son is just another version of normal. What my husband calls “God’s Alternate Construction.”