When I walk into a room, I can see the collective thought bubble form above the blank faces of adults. I feel their eyes gaze in wonder at my peculiar gait. Then usually, before a parent, in sheer desperation, can dive in with a hand to cover their mouth, a clear, loud and young voice will say "HEY! Why do you walk so funny?" The mortified parent acts as if I've been pelted with verbal rotten tomatoes. Frantically apologizing and shushing the inquisitive child. The reality is the way it feels, to be outright asked, is like a cool cloth to a feverish brow. It is a cold drink on a 102 day. It is refreshing and welcome. You see, I am aware that I walk funny. It isn't like for a moment I've momentarily forgotten that I strut. When kids see me, they are just observing. They are taking notes. They just ask what everyone is thinking. Kids are awesome
A couple weeks ago, in an attempt to give my kids some normalcy, we went to a movie. As we left, and I struggled and strutted through the mob of schlumping boots and blonde heads, my own son loudly announces "Hey Tucker! Did you know my mom can't walk good?" He announced to God and everyone, in case anyone was wondering, that in fact his mom can't walk well. There was no judgment in this, just a statement of facts. Just a big bucket of reality that he threw into the air and let sprinkle down amongst the droves of kids at the cinema that day. His declaration was met with a collective "Ok, cool, where are my Sour Patch Kids?" as they piled out into the gray parking lot. Kids are awesome.
As I lay curled up on his mom's couch, my son's buddy, Xav, delivered me a scoopful of sweet honest love. Xav and my eldest son are cut from the same quirky piece of God woven cloth. He approached me and said "I'm sorry... I'm sorry..... I'm sorry you walk funny." Taking his hand, I replied, "Thanks Bud! I'm sorry I walk funny too." His concern for me was conveyed by what he sees: Me walking funny. It was a big fat sweet 9 year old version of love and concern. It melted my heart. Kids are awesome.
If imitation is the highest form of flattery, I am a rock star amongst 3 year olds. I see them taking these giant big wobbly steps with their arms out, bobbling and giggling. If it is a particuarily bad day, where I may have some tongue clicking, I will hear my 3 year old walking around clicking his tongue, as he plays. They just see me doing something different, something they find amusing and they mimic me. Taylor Swift has her red lipstick following, I have my goofy gait-tongue clicking posse. Kids are awesome.
I've decided I'd just like to create a group of truth seekers, comprised of kids, to send out into the world to ask the questions we all wonder. They can operate under the name Battalion Why. To the Kardashian Clan, a blunt and honest: "Why are you famous?" To the sandwhich making teen with a love for piercings: "Why do you have holes bigger than a tube of lip gloss in your ear lobes?" To the professional sports players: "Why do you make gazillions of dollars for playing a game?" To the Secretary of Defense: "Why don't you just bring our Moms and Dad's home?" To the weathermen: "Why do you get paid for your weather predictions?" And all these people would answer these questions, because they are just kids.
They ask with no judgment, just sheer curiousity. They note the obvious. We are all curious, but as we age, we struggle with what we SHOULD ask, or wonder. We err on the side of never saying anything, or asking anything. Trust me the person you are wondering about is fully aware they are walking funny, or have lost their hair, or are missing an arm, or is a walking pile of grief due to a death. The person is fully aware, and they are aware YOU are aware. But kids, they just notice, and they just ask. They are the tiny buckets of reality. And they are awesome.