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When the Neighborhood Kids Didn't Invite My Son to Go Sledding

IMG_20141205_145930 I sit at the kitchen table peeling and slicing apples for pie. My son, Liam, is in the other room, happily playing games on the computer. He’s quiet. He’s happy. I’m enjoying the downtime.

I gaze out the window at the freshly falling snow. I admire the beauty of the trees covered in white fluff. I begin to hear children laughing, children screaming, children having fun. Then I see all the neighborhood children dragging sleds and embarking on the trek to the hill. They’re going sledding.

A tear creeps from my eye, and I wipe it before it rolls into the apples. Before I know it, it’s followed by more. I am crying.

Silently I weep, while in the other room, my son has no clue as to my pain. No one knocks on our door to ask Liam to play. No one thinks of including him. This rips my heart out.

Today Liam has no clue. Other days he asks, “Momma, how come I always ask kids to play (sled) with me, but how come they don’t ask me to play (sled) with them?”

You see, he knows. He knows he’s not included. He knows he’s different. He knows the other children know this. So even though, at this moment, it isn’t phasing him, it’s enraging me.

I shove the feelings down. I bury them deeper. Liam begins chatting about his game. His current perseveration is this game, so it’s all he talks about. I start to wash the dishes.

Now the children are heading home, still laughing, still happy. They’re walking through my yard to get home. They don’t need to walk through my yard. It’s actually the long way home. I want to scream at them. I want to tell them to get the hell out of my yard. But I don’t. I don’t because they’re just kids. Even though these are the kids who call my child an “autistic r-word,” even though these are the kids who call him gay, even though these are the very same kids who make our lives hell in the warmer months, I don’t say a word.

I keep quiet because it does no good. I keep quiet because they are a product of their environment. I keep quiet because they are kids. Just kids. I’ve reached out to them, to their parents. It does no good. They still bully my child. So, even though I know my son is better off not playing with them, it still rips my heart out.

To have a child who’s not wanted, not included, not cared about — it hurts. It rocks you to your core.

This life isn’t always easy for them or for us. But we need to keep on, because some things will never change.
I put a smile on my face, and I move on. I push the anger down for another day. Because today I don’t have the strength to face it. Today, I just want to smile.

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