I see you. I see you able to walk your child down the street with no forced hand holding. Able to talk about their day with cheer. Able to trust that if anything was wrong they would tell you. I see your face boil up with anger when your darling girl tells you a boy in her class licked her and hit her. I see you throw around the word “Bully” and stomp over to me. I see you with your hands on your hips demanding an apology from my child who hurt your darling girl. And I get it. I do.
But can I tell you what you don’t see? You don’t see a darling boy who has struggled since birth. A boy who has always had an obstacle to get over. A boy who no matter how hard he tries, his lack of impulse control gets the best of him. You don’t see the anxiety building in him when he’s overstimulated and can’t calm himself down. You don’t see how confused he is because with his speech delay he can’t follow two step directions yet. He tries. Oh mama he tries. All the other kids in his class are doing things so easily. And he sticks out like a sore thumb struggling. I know your darling girl gets on “Green” every day. But my boy gets on “Red”. How would you feel if every day you went to work, you tried your best and it just was never good enough. Your boss huffed and puffed, scolded you to do better, your co workers annoyed with you- isolating you, calling you names. How would you feel to have to go back to work every day feeling less than? Feeling like there’s no way you’d ever get on green?
Because my boy feels like that every day. He tells me your darling girl calls him “mean”. In fact every child in his class calls him mean. He can’t express verbally what he really needs. He’s just a ball of anxiousness and unlimited demands to control himself. To sit at a table and follow a jam packed schedule with restricted recess because of his behavior. No ability to regulate or release the energy. Google Sensory Processing Disorder. He’s sensory seeking.
What you don’t see is a boy who has no ability to tell me things. I find out from red note slips and moms like you who have no idea what mothering a child with special needs is like. You don’t see me in the middle of a grocery store floor holding him tight trying to get him to take deep breaths. You don’t see me at night drawing pictures of social situations and how he can respond better. You don’t see me avoid parks with a ton of kids because I can’t fathom another judgement from a mother who doesn’t get it. You don’t see the countless doctors appointments I drag him to, getting poked and prodded and questioned. You don’t see the research I do on how to help him. You don’t see the tears I cry out of frustration. Or the prayers I desperately pray over him.
And you don’t see the good in him. And that is the most heartbreaking of it all. He is an old soul. He can walk through a forest for hours and name all the trees and the birds and follow the sun. He loves his little sister. He protects her. He tells me he loves me 50x a day. He loves art and he loves soccer. He loves to run and he loves music. He taught himself to read. Not at the speed of your little girl, but his speed. Because you see. His speed is who he is. His heart and his personality will not be changed with a pill or a spanking or a whole new school. He is who he is because God made him that way. His brain is wired that way. And you can teach your daughter by waving your hand in my face to see the bad in everyone, or maybe just maybe you can try to see through the obvious.
Try to see the good. The effort he makes to just enjoy being in his body. The loving heart that he is. And maybe have some grace and compassion for how hard it is raising a child who is not “normal”. But who is different. Because your little girl can learn a life lesson here. To help the ones hurting and see the good in them. Or to assume they are just bad.
So I get it. I do. I’m sorry your little girl got scared by my son’s poor choices. But please know- he has so much love to give and so much to learn. He is trying. We are trying. And I will never stop advocating for him.
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