Beach Belly Flop

Elias flopped down on the sand, like a beached seal. His tongue hung out and his jaw open wide with laughter. His legs were stiff and his toes pointed. His arms were stretched behind him. He was balancing on his belly! 

I was sitting on our beach blanket watching from a distance and laughing with him. Groups of people walked by my son and couldn't help but laugh. They weren't laughing at him, they were delighting in him. Then they would look around to find his mother, and they would find me, laughing and cheering with each flop.

I have become more comfortable with people watching our family when we are in public. Sometimes Elias attracts attention when he is unhappy with his startling yelling. In those moments I have to do my best not to care what people think. I have to focus on what's best for my son, not what makes people feel comfortable. 

But other times, like this time, I watch my son share contagious joy with others. I watch him change people. Happy or unhappy, the way Elias expresses emotion stops people in their tracks. Sometimes he reminds people of how fun life is, and other times he reminds them that life can look a little messy, and that's okay. 

I never thought I would adjust to the stares. Some stares are more difficult than others, but they remind me that Elias is challenging how people live. When people stare they should also ask themselves the question…"should I flop on my belly like a seal and completely, with everything in me enjoy life right now?"

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© 2014 Natalie Falls