Monday, June 4, 2012

Thick Skin

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.

1 comment:

  1. I am so grateful that we now have inclusion so the next generation will be more sensitive and aware than previous generations. I regret that I grew up during segregation. It caused such a loss. I didn't get to know wonderful children like your son. I didn't get to learn to be comfortable with differences. I expect the same was true for the individual with the short bus joke. His loss. It is a great joy to know you and your family better through your blog. If you ever publish this, I will buy a copy to share with others.

    Liz B.