(for Part 1, click here)
So, there I am, choked up, teary eyed and embarrassed beyond belief. I am not a huge fan of crying in public. In response to a question regarding how I knew something was "off" in Jonathan's development so early, I was explaining that... while everyone seemed to think I was nuts... my previous background in autism gave me some insight into the 'red flags', so I pursued assessment earlier than most. And then, the inevitable comment:
Lead Teacher (paraphrasing): OH, God meant for you to be Jonathan's mother! What a blessing for him!
I have heard comments like this before:
God picks only special parents to take care of these little angels...
I could never do what you do.... you have been chosen to a higher purpose.
God only gives people what they can handle, and you are meant to be his mommy.
These special little angels are sent here to teach us something.
Ok, let me explain something to any dear readers out there who do not have special needs or disabled children.
Don't say crap like this. EVER AGAIN.
Now, I think people are trying to say is that they think you are a good parent and they think that the child is lucky to have your support and love. Cool.
But this is what I hear:
Apparently, you believe that God has rewarded me for my education, training, and desire to help others by giving me a child with a disability so I can experience the sadness and anguish that causes. If I had just quit school and worked at Wall Mart I would have a "normal kid". And, of course, because YOU don't have all the fine virtues I have, you are safe from ever being 'blessed' to have such a special child. Also, only people who are good and educated and "capable" have disabled children, because God would never give an idiot a child like with a disability. It would seem that if you ever did have a child with a disability, you would give it up for adoption or leave it in the snow, since you could "never do what I do". And thank goodness God gave him to me to raise, because apparently all disabled kids are here to teach you how to be a better person.
Let me make this very clear. I am no different than you. Any parent .... ANY PARENT... could be in a similar situation at some point. You do what you must. You rise, or not, to the occasion. I do not believe God gives special needs kids like some kind of "gift". Frankly, that would just make me pissed off at God. Sometimes, shit just happens. God, or Allah or the Universe might be able to lend me a little strength, but I don't think our lives are like some massive chess game that is under some kind of master control. There are plenty of kids, special or otherwise, with crappy parents who shouldn't have children. That is just how the dice rolls.
I have no superpowers. There is no difference between you and me. You cannot construct some magical fate to separate my reality from yours. I am not chosen. I have and will continue to make mistakes. I may not be able to handle this. Do not assume I.... or any other parent of a special needs kid.... is ready, willing and able to handle this.
Our kids provide an opportunity. We can learn from them. But don't give them the JOB of teaching us. They have enough on their plate. Each of us has the opportunity to learn compassion, understanding, strength, courage, and justice from all the events of our lives. And maybe someone will learn some of those lessons by knowing Jonathan. But that is not his job. His job is to be Jonathan. To make the most of his life. And my job is to help him because I am his mommy and I take my job seriously.
Jonathan might have gotten lucky to have me as his mom. And I am lucky to be his mom. But we are as real as you. We could be you. And when you accept THAT, you will truly learn how to have compassion and understanding for us.