I can hear you, you know.
When you made that comment to your friend as you walked past.
“Someone needs some discipline”
I looked up and only saw your back. “SHE’S GOT SENSORY ISSUES” I wanted to shout. But didn’t.
I had bigger things to worry about.
Namely, my child having a meltdown on the floor in the shoe isle of target. She didn’t want to try on shoes you see. They felt funny. The smelled weird. It was all too much. And while her mind was trying to prosess and I was trying my best to help her. You came along with all your wisdom.
To you, I guess we were a Blip on the radar. You probably don’t even remember the exchange.
But I do. I remember you
You don’t always say the same thing.
have different ages, faces, races and genders – But the intent is the same. The air around you bathed in smugness.
And I remember you.
I was having a well deserved drink (or 2) with a fellow special needs mum a while back and we were talking about our most embarrassing public moments with our kids – in a way I think only special needs parents do, laughing at each others stories and our conversation turned to you.
The fact the we remember you.
We both have had so many experiences with you.
With all the different versions of you.
The smug you. The snobby you. The mean you. The you that laughed. The you that rolled your eyes. All while we were at our most vulnerable.
When you berated us, and made us feel small, maybe in an attempt to make yourself feel big.
Like when I told you my daughter was non verbal and you suggested I read aloud to her like that’s some foreign concept to me. I laughed at that one. but still… I remember.
Or the time at the mall, I was sitting with my 2 year old child in the pram. Just near the play area, watching and having rest.
You said, “you should really let her out of the pram to run around.”
“She’ll get lazy” you said.
Do you remember? I do. I remember so clearly.
Did it make you feel smarter? Like you’ve somehow got it all figured out? We had just come from physio therapy. did you know that? A one hour session working on – you guess it – walking.
I should have screamed “Well She CANT WALK YET but thanks for the input karen!”
But I was too hurt to even respond. I put my head down and left, beet red. I cried in the carpark that day.
I always think of just the right thing to say, way after it would have been useful. After I’ve mulled the interaction around in my mind, for days – weeks even! Long after you’ve probably forgotten all about us.
But I remember you.
I remember the time I was changing my 3 year olds diaper in the Parking lot of a Service station, and you walled past. You turned to your husband and said loud enough for me to hear “parents these days are so Lazy, we always had them out of nappys by that age!”
well back in your day babies like mine were left at the hospital or institutionalised so maybe climb down off your high-horse there, Boomer.
My friend remembered the time she was struggling in the car park with her son, he was in the midst of a meltdown because he didn’t want to get in the car and you said “he needs a good Spanking”
I could go on forever about these interactions with “you”.
you see, all these tiny interactions, the ones that you probably Barely remember, we remember them. Every. Single. One.
We Remember the hot flush in our cheeks, from anger or embarrassment. We remember the pin prick of tears be hind our eyes. We remember trying to keep it together, thinking of comebacks too late, wishing we had spoken up for our children better.
or did you just go about your perfect life, maybe giving your self a pat on the back for your wit.
Maybe you told your friends later about the “ass-hole’ kid you saw at walmart and then moved on with your life.
just an off the cuff comment but we remember.
Maybe… just maybe, from now on if you see a parent struggling, just know that you don’t know. You don’t know why that child is having a meltdown, you don’t know why they’re still in diapers, you don’t know. So try a little empathy, instead of those comments. Maybe even ask if you can help.
It might not seem like much to you. but to us…?
We remember the kind you too.