Thursday, July 22, 2010
Please spare us the pity stare
I know why you are giving us that look.
You feel bad for my child: Poor little boy. He is so cute, too bad he has some sort of disability, which is clear to see because he is drooling. He can't quite use his hands. He walks a little different. Oh, how sad, that poor, poor kid.
You feel bad for me, too: Poor woman, she has a child with special needs. Her life must be so difficult.
But that sympathetic look you are giving us is making me uncomfortable.
Believe it or not, I do not actually consider either of us worthy of pity. My son may not be your idea of "typical" but he's still an awesome kid. I don't want him to grow up feeling pathetic. He needs confidence, and lots of it. He deserves respect and dignity, hold the pity. Same goes for me. I am perfectly content with this child of mine. He's beyond adorable, he's bright, he's got a huge personality, he makes me laugh, he gives me tremendous pride in his accomplishments—you know, just like any other kid. I'm not saying my life is easy. I'm not saying that I don't cry over what happened to Max. But we have ourselves a good life. A life not to be pitied.
I know, I know: you don't mean to stare at us piteously.
Maybe next time, though, you can catch yourself doing it, stop and just treat us like any other mom and child. Or maybe you could encourage your child to say hello to mine? That would be ever so much more humane than the pity stare.
This post is for the July 24 blogging event People First: Empowering People with Disabilities, sponsored by Bloggers Unite.
Posted by Ellen Seidman at 12:01 AM