Deeper than Appearances

If you want to blend in around our community as a parent, there are a few things you can do.

Number one: Drive a blue, black, or blackish blue Town & Country minivan.

Number two: When cold weather hits, like the low 50’s, pull out your black North Face coat.

Number three: Tote around a Starbucks cup with you each time you drop your kids off at school, after the gym, and when you watch games at the soccer field.

Maybe I’m being overly hard on our demographic, but honestly I’m guilty of all three above.  My defense is that husband works for Chrysler, I get cold easily, and I need caffeine to survive my daily demands. Perhaps I just want to blend in as much as possible though too, since my special needs son does his best to make sure we don’t.

It’s so tempting for me to look longingly at other kids with their parents and think how easy of a life they must have. The problem with that kind of thinking though, is that just because I can’t see the challenges in that person’s life, it doesn’t mean there isn’t any. No matter how together we outwardly project ourselves to be, sometimes that appearance is the only thing that hasn’t already fallen apart.

As I experience more with every passing year, I realize that most people have deep challenges they face, no matter how great their hair color is, or how many incredible vacations they take. It might be lingering hurts, feelings of insecurity, or overcoming a difficult childhood. You can’t always see the battle a person is wrestling with internally on their face, but they are constantly affected by it, unbeknownst to us.

Sometimes, life blesses us with a moment where things seem to let up, and the dressed-up exterior matches our mental clarity. We can actually feel as collected on the inside as we portray ourselves to be behind our cool aviators. Other times our sweats and disheveled hair matches our crabby disposition and frazzled thoughts. Complicating things are those special occasions when we are content with life, yet we just can’t find any matching clothes we like.

Whatever the cover of our book seems to say about us, we are wise to choose to look past the facade of others. When we pardon the surface exterior, we can begin to grow in community with those we meet. The only way we can embrace the freedom of honesty and authenticity is when we begin to adjust our judgmental lenses. Maybe its time to zip up our expedition fleece, grab a blonde roast, and open up the automatic sliding doors of our lives. We may just learn to enjoy being different after all.

Heidi Morris, Rochester Hills Mom

About Heidi Morris

Rochester Hills mom of three. Loves life, loves family, loves to share new and interesting things with everyone. Contact her today at


  1. Mary Morris says

    Nicely put, Heidi! Plato said it similarly, “Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.”

  2. Nancy Barnai says

    Heidi, I appreciate your article. It seems that as human beings, we just have this natural tendency to assume that because we haven’t talked to someone and are therefore totally unaware that they have struggles, that they must not have any. And that can never be the case.

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