Thinking can be a dangerous thing, but something that must be done nonetheless. Sometimes thinking can lead us down a road of worry. It can cause us to fret about tomorrows and not enjoy today.
However, being a non-thinker may be worse. It seems they have a brain full of loads of information that never goes through a filter or processor. Think of the human brain as a computer modem...some have virus protection to keep all the "junk" from coming out and others are just free space.
Some humans do not have a "thinker" it seems.
I've been fortunate enough to be a special needs parent twice. For those who are unaware of our story, we lost our first child to Congenital Heart Disease in 2004 after a 9 month battle with the wretched disease. Several years later when we finally decided to have another child, we were blessed with Drake. God gave us a healthy, spunky, loving, little boy who has autism. My life has been exciting to say the least. I was amazed years ago when well-wishers would give their advice both before and after my daughter passed away. Shockingly, I hear similar tidbits of advice today from these compassionate non-thinkers.
1. I'm so sorry, but you're young. You can always have more children. (Mentally stabs the person in the eye)
2. So, when are you going to have more children? (People finally stopped asking this when my eyes started turning red.)
3. Did you have an autopsy? What caused her to die? (CHD people. Even back then we had internet access. A baby sometimes cannot take the stress of having their chest sawed open multiple times)
4. I know you miss her. (Nah, it's more like your cat dying....doesn't last long.)
5. I don't know how you survived that. ( This one I don't mind so much, because I don't know how I survived it either, but you do what you have to do. We all do.)
1. Drake needs to be around children more. (I hear this from a lot of "professionals." If you knew anything at all about autism you would know that being social is usually a HUGE task.)
2. Is Drake talking yet? (You would know...trust me....you would know. We may or may not make a big deal about that when it happens)
3. I will be glad to help anytime you need me. ( Seriously? Is this something that is programmed into everyone's brain? Kind of a knee-jerk response.)
4. I know this kid who HAD autism and now he is fine. (Stabbing you in the eye again.)
5. You know...Drake may never talk..and that's okay. ( People....just don't say this. Please. I want my child to call me mama and tell me what he likes and dislikes. I need YOU to be hopeful and prayerful with me.)
6. Come over to our house this weekend. Drake will love it. (Let me explain something. Drake loves home. The weekends are his downtime and ours too. So when we decline or ask you to come to our home instead....there is a reason.)
And some of my favorites...
My kid hit a home-run yesterday.
My kid started riding his bike when he was 9 months old.
Look at what my kid won at a tournament this weekend. He shocked everyone there with his talent!
My kid says the funniest things.
My kid loves school.
My kid has 567 hot wheels and plays with them all the time...Does Drake like hot wheels? No, no he doesn't.
Listen, I love hearing about your child's victories. I really do. The sad thing is...when you say these things about your own child, you never ask about Drake and his victories.
You don't realize that my kid was almost completely potty trained at 3 1/2 years old. That is huge for a kid with autism. You don't realize that Drake probably works harder than you do at your job. He has therapy four days a week for several hours a day. You don't realize that he is a visual learner and cares very little for toys...but can work an Ipad better than kids older than him. You don't know that he loves swinging, horses, going to church, animal toys, picture books, swimming and tickles.
We all need to think about other's feelings before we speak. You may not understand CHD, child loss, or autism, but there are so many of us in this world who do understand. I want you to understand each one so you can be a help to others. If you don't feel comfortable asking then do a little research. Google is an amazing thing.
Special needs parents need your support, your understanding, and they need you to think before you speak. I know it can awkward, but being a nice human sometimes requires us to step out of our bubble.
"Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down." —Oprah Winfrey
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