I remember when she was little silently wishing that her disability was more obvious. I wished that people would see the struggles that for those that knew her well saw. I wished that I didn’t have to come up with a verbal description of why she reacted a certain way or said the things that she said. I realize that having a child with an obvious disability surely comes with its own heartache and public stares so I certainly do not want to assume that life would have been easier. I just wished that there was a precursor to the understanding that people had.
Yesterday getting pedicures I was reminded of that feeling of wishing the disability were more obvious. Since she is almost 18 and graduating next year, people seem to have many opinions or at the least, feel it is their duty to probe or make suggestions as to what she should be doing in the years to come.
I guess I need to help her come up with some scripted responses to when people so outwardly say what they think she should be doing in the near future. I certainly do not want to diminish all that she has accomplished in the last few years, and yet I wish there a way for her to positively respond when people ask her if she is going to college, and when she says no, how to respond to the bold opinions of complete strangers. Of course they have no idea that she is working on counting money and not perfecting algebraic equations.
My heart hurt for her as she was unsure how to respond to the continual probing by complete strangers. I sat quietly as I fought back the desire to say it out loud. I wanted to give my usual response. I felt like I did when she was in kindergarten and prying her hands off me was explained through the words of a disability description.
But this time, I said nothing and allowed her to speak for herself. And I was once proud of her and who she is. She reminds me that being honest and not really caring what others think is one of the true gifts of the disability.