Monday, December 8, 2008

Because Friday is a long way from Monday...and Who are THEY anyway?

I feel like Flashbacking now, daggone it, so Flashback I shall.

December 23, 2007

December 7, 2008

Uh, I guess we have a thing for grey and green? That is too funny. At least Playette can keep folks guessing what she's going to wear next year.

What a weekend. BD went to a Bachelor Party on Friday night and I stayed in. Playette and I had a pretty quiet evening and I ended up falling asleep on the couch. That was all part of the plan. It felt like such a luxury to do so. The last time I fell asleep in the living room, I realized how much better my back felt afterward and I couldn't wait to do it again. I slept so good that I didn't even hear BD stumble in come home.

I was up nice and early on Saturday for the Yard Sale. It was a pretty day and I was glad to make it home with less stuff and a few dollars in my pocket to boot. I shared my space with someone who had LOADS of stuff. She made out like a bandit.

That night, I went to a Ladies Night In of sorts and it was nice to meet some new people for the most part. There were tons of snacks and I felt like everyone else got the memo to eat dinner before they came but me. Shoot, I took "heavy hors d'oerves" to mean just that. Dang, I need some self-control.

Anyway, I was pretty bummed before leaving the house. I just couldn't seem to shake it. BD asked me what was wrong and I told him that I knew that I'd be in a room full of women and I knew we may have some fundamental things in common, but that I didn't feel like I'd really be able to fit in. I knew I'd be different.

I've mentioned this before here and it's really hard to put into words how it feels, but ever since I heard the Ds termination statistic, I've wondered. Every time I'm in a group of women, I wonder how many of them made sure their life didn't end up like mine. 90% is a huge number. Chances are, unless I'm at a gathering targeted to families of children with Ds or any other differing ability, I'm going to be in the minority. I thought I knew what it was like to be a minority before, but nothing has ever been like this. Even when I was the only Black female in my college...for years. It was nothing like this.

So, BD tries to encourage me and I try to shake off the feeling and I leave. And then what happens? As soon as I get there, the conversation turns to children and childbirth (my friend I rode over with is due to have a baby very soon). Before I can even put a glass to my lips, I hear, "I had to stop before I ended up with a baby with Down syndrome."

My heart stopped. I felt like I had been stabbed. I can't explain it. Either you know that feeling or you don't. It's the one that lets you know that you're different. You're not like the other moms. Your life, no matter how good things are going, is not carefree. You live the life that they don't want.

I hate when I leave a situation like that wishing I had said something. It always happens. And then I beat myself up for not speaking up. So I did. I said something. Not profound, but something. In a small voice I said, "It's not that bad."

Writing it out, it brings tears to my eyes. It's not bad. It's good. But that's not what I said. And again, if you don't get it, you don't get it. I'm not unhappy, but I can never truly convince them of that so how do I even try? When I do feel sad, it's primarily because of them, not Playette. If they didn't exist, I might know what it was like to be carefree too.

Back to "It's not that bad." Which, by the way, is not on my list of Snappiest Comebacks Ever.

When I said it, the lady looked up. She looked at me. Then turned away. She mumbled something, but I knew she didn't think that I meant that I knew firsthand of what I spoke. If she had, in her loud and boisterous way, she would have shifted the conversation. But I knew that when the room didn't get quiet, when the only sound was not of the jazz station playing on the TV in the background, but instead was that of 8-10 voices all vying to be heard, I knew the moment had passed.

The only person there who knew my story was the person I came with. She missed the entire exchange since she had stepped out of the room for a moment. I wanted to leave at that point, but I knew that wasn't what I needed to do. Not this time.

So we stayed. We all talked. And boisterous lady and I actually do have something in common. We've lived in the very same house. We talked about how the heat still doesn't work downstairs and how the tub still creaks. I left not thinking that she was someone I needed to avoid in the future, but I wonder if she wondered after that. I wonder if she thinks about that brief exchange of words like I have over the last couple of days.

After all that deep thought, I went and had pumpkin french toast on Sunday morning. You know I love me some pumpkin. That made me feel better.

And then we went and took photos. Sooo much fun. I'm about 60 pounds too heavy and 6 inches too short to ever reach my supermodel dreams, but yesterday you couldn't tell me nothing. I was working it like I had just won 50 extra frames on America's Next Top Model.

This photo is classic "us."

Y'know, I don't know if they will ever really get it.

On the days when it feels like it matters so much more than it should, I guess I just have to remember that we do.


SwtHoni357 said...

Babe...your comment "It's not that bad" was enough for that situation. I know the feeling of wanting to SAY more, exchange dialog, educate. Remember, just take on those conversations, one gathering at a time. Mommi, you will always run into folks who are uneducated and who are fearful of what they don't know; but keep doing what you do Sweety. I know you wanted to say worries! Trust and believe in this, keep blogging about your experiences and feelings, because when you can't say ALL you want to say, you are empowering and educating people like me, to pick up the baton, to say what needs to be said at our gatherings. I am doing my part in holding down the East Coast...LOL Take Care Sister-Friend

Peaches323 said...

First of all, love the pictures. Your hair is realy growing.

Second of all, you know my first thought was the hell with that lady. (Maybe not in those nice words) But really I think that your response was fine. Sometimes you have to pick your battles and the way you want to fight them. If that lady is still on your mind, then it is most likely that you are still on hers too. What you said probably had more of an impact on her than you think. Even if it didn't, there are many more of us that you have impacted. We are a testiment to your courage to speak up and speak out (That was deep if I do say so myself. Must be the hormones)

And just think, you still connected with her even though she said some ignornat sh%* out of her mouth. You didn't let that stop you from getting to know her and finding that you guys did have something in common. That was a feat all in itself.

Jen said...

I know that feeling. I felt it the minute I read what that lady said. I have been there, more times than I want to remember. And I never have a snappy comeback. More often than not, I say nothing. Ugh. Just sucky.

But I love what you said at the end: you do get it. And so do I. And so do lots of people. Sure, we're the minority, but we're not alone.

I hope that woman woke up with a hangover AND a big old zit the next day. :)

Anonymous said...

uuugggggg, that's the feeling that I got when I read your post. I know that feeling all too well. I have to tell you what happened to me the other day. I was at Safeway and when I got to the checkout, my milk was leaking. The checkout clerk said that she would have the bagger get me another one. He proceeded to walk very slowly to get me another one. The checkout clerk then said to me that she was sorry, but that it was hard to work with these handicapped people. My mouth dropped open and nothing came out. Instead, I went outside to my car and cried to my husband. I wanted to tell her that my little baby was one of those kids, and that I hope that she will be welcome anywhere she would like to have a job. I kicked myself for not saying anything, atleast you said something! I'm right there with ya sweetie!
Jennifer Horner

Lisa said...

"Writing it out, it brings tears to my eyes. It's not bad. It's good. But that's not what I said. And again, if you don't get it, you don't get it. I'm not unhappy, but I can never truly convince them of that so how do I even try? When I do feel sad, it's primarily because of them, not Playette. If they didn't exist, I might know what it was like to be carefree too."

Your writing it out has tears in my eyes too. I really haven't even been faced with this - YET - but I get it, I totally get what you're saying. As soon as I read what that woman said, I felt my face going all hot, just like I'm positive it would if I had been standing right there next to you.

And speaking of that . . . I am standing right there next to you. All of us moms of kids with Ds are I think. We stand together. I'm going to remember that.


You are one hot mama, by the way!

ks_kristi said...

Well, my dear you did good. Yea, you didn't knock her socks off and make her feel like crap. Are you suppose to? Advocacy is great but when do you get a break to just be a Mom at a Mom's night in? I guess the old saying is true, you just can't fix stupid. Still part of me believes you can and that education is the first key, dang that advocacy.

However, this is so close to the vest that how do you do that without your heartbreaking during the process. I guess time will teach both of us. Granted from my part of the world I wish I'd been there next to you. If I had I would hope that I could of put her in her pretty little place. I think that is the role for us friends of Mom's with kids with DS to back you guys up when you need it the most. Give me her number I'm pissed!

DJ Skinny T said...

first....yeah!!!! it finally worked...i've been trying to post comments for months and wasn't able to...for some reason, this time it was super easy....

you said just enough...i know for a fact she is thinking about that exchange because i'm still thinking about when i was 17 and told a 3 year old who was standing by her mom, whom i thought was pregnant, how she was going to be such a great big sister. Her mother looked me in the eye and said very coldly, i'm not pregnant. you don't forget those kind of exchanges.....she knew she offended you and probably didn't know how to respond....i bet she'll think twice before she makes that comment again...

regardless, saying "it's not that bad" might not have had the emotion you felt you needed to express but it was probably more powerful than any kind of explaining you could've done and more than likely emotionally less taxing...ignorance is not a pretty thing to deal with and boy is it did GREAT in handling that....

i am soooooo proud of you...i wish you could see what i and so many others see in truly are an amazing woman, mommy, and wife (broken up and all :))...those of us that know and love you, realize it isn't easy and can't even comprehend all that is involved on a daily basis with dr appts, therapy, worrying, and any issues that arise...but you keep pressing forward and doing what you do best - being an on top of it mommy for malea...that's all that REALLY matters

i love that you are honest with your emotions and are a testiment to so many of us to realize where we are emotionally, to not give up and to keep focused on the things that are truly important...i am so thankful for you and that i have shared in your life all these years...i've learned so much!!!!

i know this was long, but hey, it's my 1st pumkin is so cute...i LOVE the pics...she looks sooooo happy!!! ya'll are such a cute family...oh and your hair is beautiful girl!!!!

sheree said...

I felt it. Just reading what that woman said put that heaviness right there in my heart. I HATE that. Of course *I* know what you mean by *it's not that bad* and I too wish more people really understood.

I am sorry that happened, but glad to hear you got out and had a semi-good time despite the stabbing of the heart thing...

And HOLY cuteness! I love those antlers. How cute are you guys? :x

Cathy said...

Hi! I found your blog through Sheree's blog.

I think what you said was exactly perfect. You are right though...most of THEY don't get it. If THEY did, the termination rate would drop.

Keep on being an advocate for your beautiful little girl! You should be proud of yourself!!!

Michelle said...

Pumpkin is my favorite season!

I read this a few days ago ... whenever it was you posted it. And I wish I had something profound to say, but I still don't.

I guess I don't get it. I love my kids. Unconditionally. Why - WHY - do people think a child with DS wouldn't be equal to that love? Ya know??

I feel like sometimes "THEY" think we're only saying we love our kids, but "THEY" don't believe it. And truthfully, don't imperfections and differences make everyone unique and interesting?

You're right - it's not so bad. and you should be happy you said something! We've got years of educating people ahead of us, it doesn't have to happen all in one night.

Michelle said...

Love the family pictures!! and because I'm so far behind, I also wanted to say I really liked the ones from Thanksgiving too!