Two weeks ago I was sitting in a hotel bar with Mr. A and some of his work colleagues celebrating an incredible award they'd received. We'd just eaten a fabulous dinner in a beautiful hotel and had come to the bar for a few drinks before calling it a night. It was a night for celebration and good times. Everyone was having a wonderful time. Drinks and conversation flowed and the vibe was great.
Until I heard a "short bus" joke.
The person who made the remark took it a step further and commented on "the 'most special' of the special kids who ride the short bus. As a parent of a "short bus" rider, the comment did not sit well with me.
My happy, good-time vibe was gone, as quick as a single pin prick to an inflated balloon.
I know it was an ignorant mistake and not meant as a cruel and intentional insult at handicapped children. But still, I felt the sting of the words. The hot tears that started to come unexpectedly caught me off guard and I forced a smile.
I am not one to cry and when tears intrude, I am angry. Angry that I can be broken. Angry that few can understand any of this. And sometimes, angry that I am so intimately acquainted with all of this. Angry that M's acceptance in this world takes work.
Through my years of parenting M, I have grown a thicker skin. But apparently, still not thick enough.