Sunday, November 22, 2009

We Have Nothing in Common

From time to time I get a comment about my blog--either in person or via the 'net that goes something like this, "I don't know anything about cerebral palsy/ABR/what you're going through."

I will confess that I love these comments.

For a very long time this blog was for me. It was a chance to vent and organize my feelings when they threatened to eat me alive; It was a place for me to escape. It was also an opportunity for me to interact with other parents of special needs children--my own little support group.

But when I get comments from the non-special needs community--from people who know me in real life or people who don't--that' s when I get all warm and fuzzy and think that this blog can be more than just a selfish thing. It probably sounds naive and optimistic, but I think that this blog can be a place where people can learn about disability and disabled children without fear or worry about offending someone. I can let it all hang out and they can see that while my child doesn't walk or talk, he does smile and giggle, eat peanut butter sandwiches, dress up for Halloween and finger paint. People have a chance to really look and see beautiful blue eyes and a halo of curls.

I don't know how it was for everyone else, but I was raised that it was rude to stare. It is rude to stare, but in my eagerness to be polite, I think that I never spent more than six seconds looking at a disabled person. I would fix my eyes at some point about three feet above their heads and act as if they weren't there. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that wasn't exactly a solution.

I'm happy that this can be a place for everyone--not just the special mommas. This is a place where someone can stare. My deepest and most Pollyanna-ish wish is that we could all learn a little something from each other. I can read about normal kids and see that sometimes Charlie is completely normal or that sometimes the moms of typical kids want to rip out all their hair in frustration too. You can read my blog and find out that I've actually driven forty-five minutes to buy a pair of shoes for a kid who's feet don't touch the ground or that my saddest moment in the last six months was when Charlie ripped my iPod out of the player and it didn't work for two days. I can read almost any blog and see that we all deal with illness, family drama, Target shopping, and difficult decisions. The distance between two people isn't nearly as far as we imagine. We all have joys and sadness and heartbreak and triumph. The lens may be different, but the feelings really aren't.

So if you read this blog and have "nothing to say" then that's fine by me, but don't feel like you don't know anything about my experience or that your input isn't valuable. We're all learning from each other.