So. We have already proven in less than 48 hours that we need this blog. And this makes me even more thankful that I've stepped out to put my foot in my mouth. :)
In answer to my last post Rant #1, I received a comment in which a parent with a typical child responded with her own fear and hurt. This Brave Mama said that she was afraid her well-meaning attempt to explain was described as gawking and that hurt her.
I labelled that post as a Rant, because that is what it was. A Rant. That means that the feelings expressed are feelings. Not necessarily fact. It allowed me to tell what has happened numerous times. More times than I care to say. And it is happening more lately, as Elise's sheer physical size is making the excuse that "perhaps she is younger?" no longer applicable in explaining the "oddity" of her behavior in public.
I offer that particular situation as an example, because it has happened, with variations, so very many times. It was in a similar situation that I witnessed the perfect response. I had wondered if I would ever have the guts to say something to someone...and had run many scenarios through my head. I had concluded very similarly as what I posted, when I over-heard this response:
"Mommy, what's wrong with that girl, right there?" Complete with the finger point.
She turns her head and peeks at Elise, for just a moment, turns back, and wrapped her hand around her son's finger and told him, "I don't know, but she's just a little girl. She likes you. She thinks you would be a nice friend. I bet she would be a nice friend, too. Go see." I just about bawled. Right there. Complete with the shivering hiccups...I managed to wait until I was safe in my car, and sniffed all the way home...
There is no harm in not having the "right" response ready. There is no harm in looking at the child being asked about. There is no harm even in the whispered, "I'll answer you later, in the car." There is a problem in your panic scaring your kid. There is a problem in trying so hard to be politically correct, that you confuse your child, and keep them from making a friend that would help them grow to be better people. And I am certainly NOT saying that my child or any child with special needs is a better influence than a typical child. I am not stupid. It is hard to be Elise's friend. What I am saying, is that the strength and effort that it will require to befriend my child, and others like her, will have a positive impact on their character.
I don't want to hurt any one's feelings. But I want to be honest. I want to tell the Whole Truth. So, please don't quit following because you felt attacked, allow me the opportunity to explain. Ask me more questions. Tell me what would help you more...but keep in mind, sometimes the truth ain't pretty. And I absolutely know that goes both ways.
In answer to the honest question, "Do you plan on complaining about parents of typical children again?" Maybe. Honestly? Probably. But not to be self-righteous, to help you and to help you help us. :) But, don't worry, I will undoubtedly complain about parents of kids with special needs....I have a few pet peeves that I feel hurt our "cause" more than anything anyone else could do. I also plan on throwing myself under the bus. Actually, the next planned post is just that. :) I will also be adding the practical struggles and bizarre stories that are our life. Have no fear, this is the WHOLE Truth.
So, thank you to the Brave Mama who spoke first. I appreciate your willingness to call me out. I am trying to address the divide, heal both sides...honest.