Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Don't ever, ever, ever refer to him like that...

I had no idea what to title this post, but that's what I came up with. I still don't know how to feel about what happened today....
Let me start with the fact that I don't get much, if any, one on one time with Liam these days, so today I dropped the two little ones in Occasional Care at the local shopping centre and spent three hours with my big boy. Liam was stoked once he realised he had my undivided attention and that we were about to do an old tradition of having a very sweet and yummy lunch at a cafe that enabled us to people watch (one of his favourite past times). I had our good friend J with us (you know the undiagnosed Aspergers bestie I was telling you about ) and we were enjoying our delicious lunch of toasted banana bread and choc mud cake. Liam was beaming from ear to ear, but at the same time concentrating on each person that walked passed the cafe. I was mid conversation with J when a lady that had been sitting near us came up to me and said "I just want to say what a great job you do" and some other words to that effect. It all became a bit of a blur after that. I thanked her but said "I am so lucky to have my son, he's awesome... high five Liam!" and Liam looked at me like 'errr what? who the hell is she?'. Anyway I am not angry at the lady, clearly she was trying to be really lovely and nice and all that, but it made me sad all of a sudden. Like she viewed Liam as if he was a burden, almost like he didn't fully exist, because she had said all this in front of him and only acknowledged him when I said he is awesome and that I was indeed the lucky one. I felt sick because I never view Liam as a burden, he is my son! I love him to infinity! How could anyone view my Liam that way, as if he is an inconvenience?? I guess I've been living in a warm cosy bubble... I surround myself with people that see Liam just as he is... awesome! And I guess I have also blocked out these moments successfully before.... Until today. I still have a tear in my eye. An ache in my heart. I'm really hoping it's just hormones or lack of sleep.

After this incident today I then started to remember some comments from other times. Like last week when a boy of around 7 or 8 years old exclaimed as he pointed to Liam "Poor boy, look at the poor boy". I know this boy wasn't being mean, but I wanted to say "No he is not a poor boy, he is a way cool boy who loves action movies and ice cream, laughs at his siblings misfortune when they fall over, who high fives you cos that's how he rolls, not just in a wheel chair", yet I just walked away trying to push the comment to the back of my mind. Well we know what happens to 'pushed back comments', don't we?? Yep they come back out at other vulnerable times.. Like today.
Another 'pushed back comment' that came hurtling it's way to the forefront of my mind today came from a conversation I had at a children's birthday party. I was having a 'catch up' with a lady I had met years prior to having children. We had gone out to a few events where of course I was always the life of the party. Anyway I was filling her in on Jack's ASD and she responded with something along the lines of "Wow one child with CP and one with Autism, you must be having payback from all your hedonistic days in your early twenties!". At the time I gave a forced laugh, shrugging it off. When really I should've pointed out to her that my children are not a punishment. That they are the biggest blessing in my life. Did she not realise what she was saying? No I guess she didn't and she probably would be mortified if she knew how much she hurt me.
Thinking about these incidences I worry people think children and adults with Diffability are a punishment or a burden or anything so demeaning. When they are anything but a punishment! Yes they make life a bit more challenging at times, but there's a difference. And may I add that we can all make life challenging at times.. just saying *insert winky face*


Kate said...

Wow. People can say the daftest things with the best of intentions. And at least I guess when the intention is good you can kind of understand even when it stings. But the payback comment made me cringe, and I hope it makes her cringe when she thinks back to it too.

All children are such a gift, no matter their abilities.

I will agree with one thing though, you are a great Mum doing a wonderful job.

mishaps and mayhem of a gluten free life said...

You have such an awesome positive attitude but when inconsiderate idiots say stupid things it makes you so mad. Cause of my injuries from my car accident we can't try for kids at the moment don't know when we can n dr, because of endo gave me 30 as the max age to wait. Every post you not only acknowledge the extreme love you have for your kids and how lucky you are. Whilst at the same time you give acknowledgment to the people who can't have kids either temporarily or permanently. You are so lucky to be blessed with 3 gorgeous kids and yes your days will be harder than those patronizing people but as my hubby says we take each day as it comes and deal with each set back as it happens. Hopefully my spasms settle do we can finally catch up. Xxx

theKatieKitten said...

Anything out of our cookie cutter, white bread narrow minded view is seen as something that people with little tact can comment upon. You would think we get better with age, but a girlfriends experience excluded that possibility. She was our shopping when a 'lovely little old lady' commented on her daughter, complmenting her cute cheeks, only to follow up with a shocking "pity about her unfortunate hair colour, tsk tsk" referring to the child's ginger locks!

Just a Dizzy Blogging Dad said...

I personally hate it when people comment on a parents' bravery. Like anyone is ever just going to give up when life gets a little rough. The amazing thing about being a human is how easily we can adapt, accept, and thrive.

Yeah, I know I am sick, and I know I will never get any better, but that doesn't mean i am going to give up. I'm a parent. I don't have that option, so I adapt and develop skills where I am not limited. It isn't bravery. It's simply living.

Anyway, I want to thank you for writing this post. I promise to never call you brave though, but strong and loving and proud as any mum should be.