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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Take Care of Each Other

We were invited to a birthday party a few months ago of a little boy close to Christian's age. It was at a park.

Christian is getting bigger and not looking like a baby so much so we get a lot of stares. We have a safe little bubble, our family, his school, of people who know him and love him. But when we step outside of the bubble it's glaringly apparent that Christian is different. Those who stare the longest and even make comments or look terrified are usually kids, mostly boys, that are pre-teen, around the ages of 8-10.

So you can imagine why I might have felt a little anxiety about going to a a park...full of kids. This feeling isn't like me. I'm usually brave. But I've started to feel small in these situations. I really shouldn't. Kids get stared at all the time for all sorts of reasons. But when it's your kid - your baby - it's different. It's a knife in your chest.

But I'm not one to let any situation hold us back, even if it makes us uncomfortable. I faced it head on with a little prayer to God to get me through the ordeal and take care of us.

I know it seems like I was making a bigger deal out of it than it should have been but sometimes things hit and you don't know why or when. They're sensitivities that you don't even know exist until you're faced with it head on and it makes you question any and all healing of your own psyche that has taken place thus far. Grief is never truly over. Anyone who has grieved over something will tell you that.

Take, for instance, tonight. I put all of the Christmas decorations away and that always causes such introspection and thought about where we were last year, where we'll be next time we pull all these ornaments out again. But tonight I had to put away all the little Baby Christian ornaments. The one of him on a rocking horse that says, "Baby's First Christmas." The photo of him on his first visit with Santa. Little goodbyes. Of course, any mother gets sad reminiscing about her babies' firsts but this is different. It cuts different.

Anyway, I'm on a tangent.

Back to the park. We went to the party. I was my happy and merry self so as to make sure nobody was uncomfortable or sad for this child who was clearly disabled. There were so many kids there. So many. It was a park on a Saturday, go figure.

And just when I thought this whole shindig would be okay, no harm done, one of those damn kids had to say something. Not from the party. Those kids were fine. It was a random kid, a boy, around ten. He was talking to his mom and she was talking to him about Christian because her younger son took an interest in befriending him. She quietly asked her older son if he knew why Christian was the way he was (as if she knew), and he said, "Yeah! That's what happens when kids get sick and die."

His mom was embarrassed and tried to correct him in hushed tones and they were a little too far away from me to correct. That, or maybe I just wasn't feeling all that brave.

I swallowed it and headed toward the swings with Christian. They were swings adapted for special needs and another mom was there with her daughter. When she saw us coming she told her able bodied daughter to get off the swing so Christian could get on but she lingered nearby. I scooped up Christian and went to go sit with him on my lap since there wasn't much support in the swing for him. It would be quite the maneuver trying to sit down into a moving swing with him in my arms. I started to back up and out of the corner of my eye saw the lingering mom move quickly over to our intended swing, reach out an arm, and stabilize the swing so I could carefully sit down without falling on my ass. I thanked her and she looked me in the eyes, smiled, and said, "You're welcome."

We swung. We flew. He smiled and the rest of the park kind of faded for a bit.

The rest of the party was fine, uneventful even. We made it through in one piece and the world didn't end. My little prayer was answered, we were taken care of.

In this New Year look around you. Does someone need comforting? Is there a friend that needs you to listen for a little while? Can you do something for someone else just to be nice? Are you kind? Even online? I heard this somewhere else but if you aren't kind on the internet, you are not kind.

Is there someone that needs you to open their door? Maybe there's someone who needs you to hold her swing so she can swing with her son.

In 2014 take care of each other.


Thandi said...

Tears. What a moving account. I never think of what it takes-mentally-for a parent to to go out in public with a 'different'child . Thank you for sharing this.

ARLINA C said...

Hi, I've followed your blog for some time now. I found it when, I was "sad, angry and just plain passed off." That my Mom (I know she's not a child) suffered brain damage due to 3 massive strokes at 44 year's old. She's now 50. But, we've (my family and I) have taken care of her since. She's half paralyzed, has lost a lot of who she was. And I used think my brother's and I were completely alone. But, I know we're not. I remember taking my mom out to malls, fairs, grocery stores etc. And even full grown adult's like you and I, staring at her and whispering to each other. I would go nuts! And I would often look like a crazy person. And I would come home and cry. Just thinking of it now, makes me cry. It wasn't until my Mom was actually able to start talking a bit (due to speech therapy) when she told me "'don't be mean like them. I didn't teach you that. It hurts me." Was when I realized I can't go on this way. So, I get it. Ignorance is everywhere. We can't do anything about it. Only thing we can do is educate those want to really know. And the rest can go F*$k themselves. Sorry, I am who I am. I love reading updates about Christian and your family. Thank you for sharing your life with all of us. I know it's helped me tremendously. God bless you all Lots of love from San Diego! :)

Shauna @ Momma Candy said...

Thandi - Thank you so much for reading and thank you for leaving such a sweet note.

Arlina - Your reply is why I blog. You are NOT alone. And that recount of your mom when she could finally voice her opinion left me breathless. Would you mind if I reposted this? It was just so touching and real - my kinda girl!

Thanks for reading and blessing to you and your Momma!

Arlina C. said...

Hi Shauna! Thank you. Please do so. And sorry for some misspellings. It was written from my phone. Lol! And thank you for taking the time to read it. :)

Vanessa said...

OK, so what happened to Momma Candy blog?

Jen said...

Such a beautiful post Shauna, in every way. Grateful am I for every single person who ever holds the swing - in any situation : ) Yes, kindness and love are really all that matter. Through your writing I could actually see you and Christian on that swing as the rest of the world fell away, what a sweet sight...

Shauna @ Momma Candy said...

Vanessa - Momma Candy is on hiatus. Go Daddy auctioned off my domain name. :-( Regrouping and rebuilding.

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