A friend posted this link on facebook CLICK HERE and that friend isn't even a special needs parent friend. Just a typical parent who has compassion for others and his ears sting as well when hearing the word retard in a negative way.
I am not going to go all ape poo on the word and people who use the word and definitely not going to talk about politics. I have read some beautiful blogs on not using that word and I would never be a cut above what I read and I have no desire to tantrum about something I have done a few times in Lily's 10 years of life.
All I want to say is a few things.
I grew up with my brother who has cerebral palsy and is in a wheelchair, has full mental capacity, yet his body does not have full capacity, so the word was used at him ignorantly. Inappropriately. Ignorantly. Oh did I already say that ;)
The word had never sat right with me, but I used it when I was younger. I admit it, I did. But I was more of a well they are all jumping off the cliff, I should too kind of kid. But every time I said it, I felt sick. I am thankful for that conviction. I wish that upon everyone. My brother rode on a bus with kids with that MR diagnosis. I knew kids with that MR diagnosis. I knew better. I deserved more than a sick stomach, I needed a knock on my head.
Then I became a mom to a kid with a neuro disorder. Although the word was never told to my face, I found it. It was written as commonly as the sky is blue on almost every record Lily has. Severe Mental Retardation. How do they know? She never spoke a word to them. Oh that is how they know.... or rather how they think they know.
I found that word one day on a sheet of paper and the wind was kicked out of me. One word. Although it wasn't bold and in italics it might have well been because it was the only word I saw.
Then I go hang out with some friends and they tell me about this retarded kid who sold them shoes, I ask oh really did he have down syndome? "No he was just stupid". Oh. Ouch. My gut ripped.
I used to be overly sensitive to the word and would watch people say it in front of me and apologize, or they would say that is so re...stupid. And I would feel dumb for being so sensitive. Like it was me keeping them from talking freely.
But now things are different. Wanna know why? Because I have had some years to process that diagnosis. I've had a few years not to toughen up, but to change perspective.
I feel sorry for someone who says things like that Ann Coulter twitter quote. I feel sorry for her because she has no idea what it is to love someone who finds a kiss of the cheek a highlight of the day. To love a child who laughs at a gentle breeze on her face. A bumpy ride in her wheelchair can put her into giggly hysterics. A child who will never understand that people can be bad. A child where her world is safe. A child where no one is a stranger. A child who will never know regret. A child who will never judge others. A child who has no prejudices. A child who lives happily in her safe world with people who would run to the moon and back just to see her smile.
Ann Coulter is the one to pity. Not Lily.Certainly not me. People who find that word necessary to describe their pen that ran out of ink as retarded. Those are the people I pity.
So go ahead and continue using that word. Fine by me, because I know what a treasure I have worth far more than any gold and her name is Lily and she has a medical record that says she is severely mentally retarded, and she is and will always be the best gift life has ever given me.
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