Disabled. I’ve used the word many times. It’s a fast and abbreviated explanation. You see, it’s hard to explain what my child has gone through. To be honest, I’m tired of telling our story. I can tell the story about how we knew something was wrong, the doctors tests and specialists we saw, the hospitals we visit, how this impacts life every day and what it means to your family. I can explain where we’re at now, what the future holds and our hopes and dreams. People often ask “will it get better on it’s own?” “What’s the plan?”
I have two options. I can go into ALL of this. Or, I can simply say “I have a disabled child” and move on from the topic. People understand that, it’s short and sums up in a few words something I go through every day and doesn’t lead to too many questions. I can continue shopping, running errands or change the topic back to something positive, uplifting and maybe even not cartoon related.I can avoid talking about my son’s disability in front of him and my other children and go onto our normal day activities. But this does not mean that you should see my child as disabled…
The first time I heard someone else refer to my son as disabled it took me by surprise. Disabled? This is one of the happiest, most active children I’ve known. He’s full of love, creation, imagination and loves to play. Earlier today he showered me with kisses and told me he loved me. He made a painting, conspired with his brother to sneak into the not-so-secret candy stash and splashed in the bath tub so vigorously I had to use two full-sized towels to clean it up. He smiled, laughed and had a great time. He fell asleep laying next to me and I watched him sleeping peacefully. He’ll be back at it again tomorrow…probably at about 5 AM. Another typical day for him and our family.
Disabled? I thought, what is it that my son isn’t able to do? No, he’ll never play football or be on the Olympic track team…but neither will most people’s children, even the parents who seriously overestimate their child’s abilities. My “Disabled” child is charismatic, bright and very active. I wish you chose one of these descriptive words instead of pointing out his limitation. Yes, he has many appointments, studies and tests ahead of him. Surgery and hospital stays…but these events are a blip on our radar; Moments out of an otherwise busy and happy day, moments that don’t put a dent in the amount of time he has spent coloring on the walls, fighting with his siblings or feeding treats to our dog. Yes, worry and genetics have turned my hair white and I cry late at night when everyone is sleeping thinking of what lies ahead for my baby…but disabled? He certainly doesn’t see himself that way, I don’t and you don’t have the right to. Don’t call my son disabled.