The Adoration of the Christ Child

The Adoration of the Christ Child
See if you can spot why I like this image

Everything in its Right Place

A blog about disability, life, parenting, and learning what it means to live well in this world.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The comments keep coming

If any of you looked at the last post that I referenced, written by my friend Amy Julia Becker, you should have a look at her most recent post. You can click there or on the link on the right. It's worth looking at to see, written in black and white, some of the horrible things that people say about "those children." And Amy Julia's surprisingly calm and thoughtful response to it all.

The comments she quotes might surprise some of you, sadden or pain you, but they have been heard by all parents of disabled children. Yes, even me. I said in my comment to her that one time a mom, a nice, upstanding, middle-class mother, said to me in the park "I could never have one of those", referring to my Adam. She wasn't being malicious, she was being both honest and completely transparent in her ignorance. She is probably a person who has never had anything go wrong in her whole life, so why should she start by welcoming a defective child into her life?

I get it, that we humans like choice, we like getting things right and things going right in our lives. We have emotions and thoughts that are occasionally painful to others or painfully stupid, and sometimes we let those loose on the world. It doesn't bother me, because I am happy with my choices and with our family. But...

I still can't figure out the but. There is definitely a but there...maybe it's that protective impulse to want people not to say or think those things because someday Adam may learn of it. I guess also it's a desire to want people to at least be willing to see more, to be open to more. To consider for one minute that a child with Downs, or cerebral palsy, or Edward Syndrome is just as wonderful a gift to welcome as any "normal" child. I want people to see that life is complex in its imperfection, and running away or trying to shield yourself from that imperfection just limits you from...well, life.

I'm pretty sure you don't know what you can't do until you try/do it. But maybe that's just me. And no, just to set another myth on its tail, you don't need superhuman powers to raise a disabled child. You just need to do it, same as any other child. I'm not special because I'm caring for Adam, I'm special just like everyone else on this planet. And blessed because I'm caring for Adam.

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