Thursday, May 5, 2011

That Word

Retarded.  Retard. 

"I'm such a retard".  "I am retarded".  "you are retarded".  "I feel retarded today".

These are all phrases I have heard often in the past couple days and it's starting to wear on me.  I mainly hear them when I am at work.  I haven't said anything yet, but I will.  I am trying to find the best way to address it and say it.  I have posted about this before, but today it's particularly bothering me.  I wonder how I will respond in the future when some bully kid says it to Jack.  Or what if Jack says it?  I admit as we approach Jack's 2nd birthday I get sad.  Because he is getting older.  People stare a lot. I don't know if they stare because he is so stinkin cute or because they know he is different.  I think each day that in x amount of time he will be in school.  In big school.  A world that I won't be able to protect or shelter him the way I can now.  He will be in a world where kids will be mean and nice.  Where teachers will be mean and nice.  Where parents will be mean and nice.  I dread the day someone makes him feel small.  I dread the day someone says that word to him.  Tears fall down my face as I think of it.  And there is nothing I can do.  I know every parent must feel this way to some degree- wanting to protect their child.  I feel such a burden though.  I don't know if it's because I am single and know that his self worth - teaching him how valuable he is - relies solely on me?  I am not sure.  All I know is that I feel heavy and my heart hurts.  I wish I could change the world for him.  I wish I could make everyone see how absolutely lovely he is.  I wish I could stop the world from trying to change him.  I guess all of us with kids w/ disabilities strive for normalcy on some end.  But I love my Jack.  I of course want him to speak, and walk, and be self sufficient, say his ABCs, sing songs, etc, but on a daily basis I am not worried about it.  I know he will get there in his time.  And I guess I get anxious about kindergarten and school cause I know the rest of the world isn't on his time.  They will push him and remind me how behind he is or isn't, and kids, parents and teachers will constantly compare him to "typical" kids.  I hope I don't have to venture that world alone, but I might have to.  It's times like these that being alone is truly hard.  So, the word retarded just reminds me that the rest of the world isn't mindful of my Jack or anyone with disabilities.  It reminds me that people aren't as thoughtful as I would like them to be.  And it brings to light that life in the coming years will have many challenges.  I know Jack knows I love him and accept him and I always will.  How I wish I could change the world for him.  I wish I could take away the "shoulds".  People always tell me how lucky Jack is to have a loving momma and how God gives special children to special people.  I am not sure how I feel about those - but I do know that I wouldn't trade him nor change anything about him.  If a drug came out tomorrow that could take away his DS I absolutely wouldn't do it.  Bold I know.  God made him this way. And the only motivation behind changing him is fear.  Fear of death or illness or differences.  And want of 'normalcy'. I love him.  I love him. I love him.  And I hope that if anyone calls him 'retarded' that he can say - God made me this way and I am loved and I am cherished and I am worth a lot.  I hope he can hold his head high knowing that his mom loves every ounce of him and that he was made in God's image.  I hope he knows how incredible and special he is.  And I hope he knows that he was not some mistake or genetic screw up. Sometimes I wonder why God gave him me.  Sometimes I think that I don't have as much to offer as a loving mom and dad would together and often feel lacking.  But I know in my heart, that God chose him to be my son and me to be his mom.  And we have a great love story.  I love you my sweet, wonderful, beautiful, silly son.    This was us almost 2 years ago - I fell in love with you instantly and that hasn't changed. You are my sunshine.


  1. You hear that at WORK? From adult professionals? Gah. I actually haven't yet (at work) but I've been dying to whip out my snappy lines. Do you read Robert Rummel-Hudson? He just wrote about this today too. Sore point for us all.

  2. Brandi, thanks for sharing this. You made me cry. I love Jack too. He is amazing!

  3. Love you and love Jack! Jack is special and I'm not talking about his DS. It's his bright eyes, his joyous smile and that bubbly personality that makes him who he is - Just Jack!

  4. I can't tell you how much this blog and your story of little Jack touched me, in a really profound way. I am not a mother myself, but I now hold little Jack in my heart. Thank you for sharing your story. I wish you all the love and light that you deserve.

  5. Brandi,
    You and I share so many of the same feelings. Once Molly is over her treatments we must come to St. Louis and have a playdate with Jack. I know Molly would love it and I would love talking to you more about our super kiddos.

    Sending you a hug!


  6. I love this post! And the one before it too!
    I'm with you....wouldn't change A THING