Have you met my friend Adrienne? Not only is she smart, talented, beautiful, and a great mom, she’s also an amazing writer who was honored at this year’s BlogHer as a Voice of the Year.
She’s also, very often, the voice in my head that keeps me from saying stupid shit out loud to people that really, really deserve it. She is the Empress of talking about controversial things without making people feel she’s defensive or overbearing about it. It’s a skill I’ll never perfect, and one I very often envy.
About two weeks ago, Adrienne wrote a great blog post about how sometimes, even the things well-meaning people say to special needs parents hurt us. If you haven’t read it, go read it now. I’ll wait!
Ok – thanks for reading it. Did you by chance read any of the comments? If you didn’t, at least scroll down far enough to read a comment from Jenny, who calls special needs parents “self-centered” and says we have an “accommodate me” culture. There were others. Adrienne’s latest post chronicled some of them. I had to comment. And I failed in channeling Adrienne’s calm demeanor as I did so.
Yes. I’d rather you ignored me than told me my so is too old to be doing whatever it is he’s doing that you think he’s too old to do. Thanks to his mental illness and/or his medication, his IQ has deteriorated 35 points since he was in Kindergarten. Just because he’s 6 feet tall doesn’t mean he’s a grown up, emotionally or intellectually. Forgive me for not running out and having that printed on his t-shirt.
True, lots of well meaning people say hurtful things without knowing they are hurtful. I find it ironic you want us to spare your feelings by not telling you they are hurtful, but you don’t give a rats ass about our feelings. I don’t have to ask how everyone else’s kids are doing. I get it every day. Whether it’s on Facebook, or the annual Christmas brag letter, chatting on the corner waiting for the school bus, or calls and emails reaching out to say hi, I hear my friends and family brag about their kids. And when I’m asked how my family is, 99% of the time I will say “fine,” and move along, because I don’t need to explain it for the 1,000th time / get sympathy / get unsolicited advice.
No one is asking you to change how you speak to us. In fact, I actually prefer it when you tell me to suck it up, or God only gives us as much as we can handle, or if I only changed his diet to gluten/sugar/meat free he’d be cured, or how can I stomach putting all that medication into him. I prefer it because it’s easier to avoid people who have no qualms about being douchey than try and educate them all. So keep being douchey. I appreciate the very visual warning of who and where you are.
THAT’S what bitter sounds like.
Adrienne, I’ll try and do better next time. I promise.