As a mom of school-aged children, I come across many different moms around the neighborhood and schools. Just like in any other social setting, there are various personalities; some are quiet, some are talkative, some are friendly, some keep to themselves. What’s different though, is that unlike our own social circles, moms gather together as a group of friends who know very little about each other. And in these adult social circles, moms are often judged according to their children and their performances at school and/or sports.
As a mom of a special needs child, I sit at the lower rung of the mommy hierarchy created by mean, gossipy moms. I sometimes feel this but never really cared as it’s part of being Elle’s mom and I would choose to be her mom again in a heartbeat. And having a special needs child means I occasionally have to deal with rude remarks from strangers who judge her without really knowing her. I get it, and I’m fine with it.
Just recently though, I came across another comment made by a neighborhood mom, a mom whom we had gotten close to over the years. She had made comments about my older daughter before, along the lines of “I don’t know how you do it,” to “I never knew her condition was so severe” but I didn’t think much of it since I thought she was just being caring and sympathetic to our family. She was always so sweet to my daughter.
Then I discovered that the same mom was referring to my daughter Elle as a “sick child”, telling others before we even meet them that we are the family with a “sick child.” Then she went on to comment about how wrong it was for my husband and I to still enjoy our lives despite our “sick child.” There is so much more said and done, but I won’t go into details and just leave it as an issue of my child, because more than anything, that’s what this is about.
My immediate response of course, was to call and ask her why she is saying such things about my child. But then, that’ll mean I actually care to know her response, which I don’t, so that won’t be necessary. Another possible reaction would be to invite her to coffee like a lady, and explain to her why her actions and words were wrong. But then that’ll mean I actually have hope for her changing, which I don’t, so I won’t be doing that either.
Instead, I will dedicate one whole blog post to her as well as other ignorant souls in the world who unknowingly (or willingly) raise another generation of ignorant, judgmental and miserable souls like themselves.
First, yes my daughter has a disability. She gets absence seizures and needs daily medication. She can’t read as fast or talk as well as your child. But she isn’t “sick,” she just learns at a different pace.
Also, when she puts her hands to her ears at birthday parties, it’s because she is sensitive to loud noise and large crowds, a behavior that sometimes accompanies a seizure disorder. And no, it’s NOT because she is “scared of her mom” (which is me) and NO, she doesn’t need you to rescue her from her evil, negligent mother. I don’t know how you even dared to talk this way about my relationship with my daughter, but 1) I have NOTHING to prove to you and 2) now I know why God couldn’t trust you with a “sick child” like Elle.
To me, you’re the one who is truly sick. It takes a truly sick soul to gossip about children with disabilities (and their mothers & fathers, which I won’t go into detail about) and their handicap that isn’t even their fault.
Elle’s “sickness” isn’t her fault but YOUR sickness is entirely your fault. My daughter still has time to grow into a healthy and happy adult; sadly, you do not.
Second, to respond to your comment about our family still enjoying our lives despite our “sick child,” that is how normal, functional, and healthy human beings operate.
You see, when you are an emotionally and mentally healthy individual, you learn to adjust to life, even the difficulties. You don’t let setbacks, even disabilities, deter you from enjoying or living your life to the fullest. Yes finding out about my daughter’s disability was heartbreaking, but we got through it as family, and we are past the point of moping, mourning and crying over something that is beyond our control. Plus it gave us a deeper heart and bigger understanding of life and God’s plan in general, so ultimately it’s her, who gave me the wisdom to not stoop to the level of miserable people like you.
At age 9, she is already making this world a better place. So thank her for not being humiliated in public and yes- we will continue to enjoy our lives.
Third, being a family means enjoying our time together, yet being confident enough to grow in our separate identities as well. It’s perfectly acceptable and healthy for fathers to have a night out with the boys, for mothers to have a night out with girlfriends and for children to spend time with people other than their mommies.
It’s called HEALTHY BOUNDARIES.
BOUNDARIES, perhaps one of the most important aspect of healthy parenting, one very important lesson that you somehow missed in your lifetime.
I can say so much to humiliate you, to reveal your true colors, and even act out on my anger. But I now realize just how sick you are and instead, pity your miserable life filled with control, manipulation, obsession and lies.
All I can say is you have a big lesson coming your way, from the Universe, and I don’t have to do a thing for you to know what you did wrong, except of course, speak out against people like you.
So my last word of advice to you is to let go, let God, and seek therapy for the sake of your children.
P.S. And thank you, for gossiping about my special needs child because it’s ultimately hateful, two-faced people like you who make me come out of my comfortable, private sphere to be my daughter’s voice.
I AM my daughter’s voice.