Thursday, October 25, 2007

To Whom it May Concern...

Do not make me a martyr for parenting my son. Believe me, I'm no martyr.

Do ask intelligent, compassionate questions if you want to. I'm happy to explain about his different disorders, if only to educate that they are nothing to be afraid of.

Do not ask me questions driven by your curiosity of the strange and different. My son is not here for your entertainment. This is no freak show.

Do not try to imitate how someone else you knew with special needs used to speak, and ask me if my son sounds like that. It sounds like you're mocking my son, even if you're not trying to.

Do not ask me what I know about disorders he doesn't even have. He has special needs - not every disability under the sun. Go read Wikipedia if you want to learn.

Do not shake your head in astonishment when you hear about another of his doctor's appointments. All children go to the doctor. He just goes a bit more often.

Do not pat me on the back and give me an "attaboy". I don't need to be patronized.

Do not act like I'm some kind of extraordinary parent because I have him for a son. Some Many Most days parenting my other children is more difficult than parenting him.

Do not tell me how wonderful we are for taking on this challenge, or for raising him, or suggest we might not have kept him in the first place. This implies that he somehow didn't deserve to be kept or taken care of, which makes me very angry.

Stop glamorizing our life and telling me I'll be remembered in heaven for being his mother. He is just our son. Look beyond the wheelchair and you'll see just another little boy who has needs, just like our other children. It's not the TV-movie-of-the-week, Oprah-special-feature you're looking for. Move along if that's what you need.

Thank you.

15 comments:

Kelly said...

Hmmmm....

Coworker this time? ;)

We all get this junk, but you seem to get it more than some.

Sorry friend. Hope your OTHER days have been going well :)

Eliza said...

Random aside: when my youngest still had an NG tube (before the mic-key button) I used to get a TON of questions and comments. My all-time favorite was the frequent "Ooooo you're so brave, I could NEVER do that to my baby." I made some woman cry in Wal-Mart one time by replaying "No I'm not, I cry every time I have to put the thing in, and yes you could if it would save their life, or would you opt out and leave them exposed on a hillside instead?"

Carrie said...

Amen.

Though I don't even want to educate anymore. It is all I can do not to ask about their prostate exam when they start asking me about my daughter's medical history. I have learned to say, "My daughter doesn't feel comfortable when we share her medical history with total strangers", or some variation thereof.

anne at annenahm.com said...

Thank you.

Jacqui said...

I agree Mete. Some days parenting the other kids is far harder then parenting Moo (though he has developed a defiant streak of late). I love what Carrie says to people. I'm going to have to use that.

Ben & Bennie said...

Excellent post, Mete! And AMEN to raising our "normal" kids being much more difficult.

Did you really have someone tell you you'd be rewarded in Heaven for raising an exceptional child?

Mete said...

Kelly: Um. No comment.

Eliza: I love that "so brave" crap. Like we have a choice! It's not like we're deciding to go bungee jumping or something. We're just doing what needs to be done.

Carrie: I agree, it is getting old. Although I do prefer someone asking me questions outright over making stupid assumptions.

anne: You're welcome. :)

Jacqui: Even Ethan has his moments. It just gets so annoying when people ASSUME it's hard to be his mom. It's not! It's hard dealing with insurance companies, and doctors, and the government, not HIM.

ben & bennie: Ohhhhhh yeah, according to someone, I'm going right to heaven because of Ethan. Guess we hit the spiritual jackpot just by our son being disabled! We also get lots of: "God gave him to you for a reason, because he knew you'd take such good care of him." Which, on the surface SOUNDS nice, but really is a load of CRAP. Because, why did God give (plenty of neurotypical) children to parents who abuse and murder them? Oops! You messed up on those ones, God. Your bad!

Nelba said...

Good post. I agree.

Shannon said...

Good for you! Amazing what people think is OK to say.

Debbie said...

Amen! I agree--it's so much harder to deal with the insurance company, doctors, nurses, government hoops, case workers, etc. than to parent your beautiful child. I didn't realize we had a free pass into Heaven. I guess I can just check that one off my to do list!

Little Miss Cranky said...

Well said.

John & Becca said...

perfect. Found your blog Holland & Eden, we have a micropreemie. Born 27 weeks. Thanks for sharing.

carina said...

well well well. We all feel the same even at oposite sides of the world!!!

Anonymous said...

I found this post tonight during an extreme googling session for trying to figure out how to deal with a co-worker said something SO rude to me today. I was telling her that I had found a wonderful PCA for my daughter with special needs and that she loved my daughter. She looked at me and said, "and she wasn't put off by her special needs?" Put OFF? PUT OFF? Who asks those kinds of questions? Who is that ignorant and mean? I confronted her on her stupid comment but I'm still fuming.

I'm sorry this happens to so many others because it's a terrible experience when your realize how cruel people can be. Our children our wonderful and their disablities do not DEFINE them. This post says everything I've ever wanted to say to all the ignorant people out there. Thank you.

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