A Letter to the Anonymous Emailer Who Judged a Special Needs Mom
Dear Anonymous Emailer,
Every other day (sometimes more often than that) I hear someone frustrated, upset or hurt by the unkind words of someone else — usually by someone who has no idea what that person’s life is really like.
When some people offer an opinion, they’re truly well-meaning. They’re really just trying to help, which I appreciate.
Then there are the ones who think they know better than you and have to tell you they know better than you. They make me a bit nuts (yes, I’m already nuts; this is a new level of nuts), but they’re generally harmless.
Then there are the people who know nothing; they just want to hurt others. They hide behind the anonymous facade the Internet can offer. These people need to remember that if you have to hide who you are when you make a comment, maybe you should not be saying it at all.
Recently, one of my favorite people on the planet received an email from an anonymous address telling her that her “refusal to accept autism as a gift” has “of course already caused massive and major depression and an inability to feel happiness” in her son.
I know her. She adores her son; she loves him with her whole heart.
Her son depressed? Not even… he dances, sings, creates and is a joy to be near.
She, like every other mom, celebrates his successes and worries about his problems. She, like every good parent, worries and hates to see her son struggle. She sees him as the gift. Autism just comes with that package.
Just because our kids are not what we expected or hoped prior to them joining our lives doesn’t mean we love them any less.
While we wish they didn’t have to fight that fight, we do not love them any less because of it.
What kind of parent wants their kid to struggle?
I wish each of my kids, even the ones who do not have autism, didn’t have to fight their fights. I wish I could fill their world with success and happiness.
Does this make me a bad parent? No! It makes me a loving parent.
I want them to grow and be loved and have friends.
Does this cause distress in my kids? Ha! Not even.
Celebrating our kids’ successes along with the worry of what is going to happen next is just part of the gift of having kids — any kid. Most parents get cuddles, kisses and hugs. They get kids who dance and love stories and songs, who have birthday parties filled with friends and holidays laced with excitement and joy. They hear about first dates and first kisses. They watch the winning — and the losing for that matter — in a team sport.
But some kids are not able to cuddle or kiss, and hugs are torture. Some of our kids will never know that first date or the first kiss or the joy of scoring in a sport.
Some kids fight a fight every. single. day.
As parents, we look ways to celebrate. We have to look twice as hard some days, but we do — because if we didn’t we would have given up long ago. Do we want to fight that fight? No, but we do because they do. We are there, right alongside our kids, holding their hands or carrying them when they can’t continue. Some days we just lay near them to tell them hey, we are still here. Other days, we sit in the dark and cry just like they do.
I never want my kids to hurt — not for a second. To have your child so frustrated that all he can do is hurt himself or rock and cry is heartbreaking. You want so badly to make that go away. It’s not about taking away who they are; it’s about making their life better.
We live this life — you may have not been through the sorrow and the pain. You may have not been the one quietly crying in the dark when you child finally sleeps after days on end.
We still smile at that calm face when they do finally sleep.
We still giggle when they bounce on our beds way too early each and every morning.
We hold each smile, every “I love you” (no matter how they say it) and each hug as something more precious than the Hope Diamond, because those things bring us joy. Those things are our hope. They’re what keep us going every. single. day.
Next time, dear anonymous emailer, you feel the need to belittle or comment on someone else’s life, I hope you remember this:
The tired, sometimes lost and often overwhelmed parents here on our pages and blogs trying to find some connection, someone who gets it, someone who says, “Hey, I’ve been there too” — us parents love our kids just as much as the average parent. We fight hard with and for our kids. Keep in mind that we are human. We cry, we hurt and love too, so we don’t need or want any more pain in our lives.
So, anonymous emailer, write your opinion down on some paper and fold it to all corners and shove it where the sun doesn’t shine, because you do not and never will live someone else’s life and have no right to tell us what we feel.
And if you feel the need to tell someone something and that thing makes you think you have to hide who you are to make that statement, maybe — just maybe — you should reconsider. If you do not feel it’s something you want associated with your name, do you really think it should be said?
Moms and Dads everywhere