Thursday, September 20, 2012
Late afternoon we brought the 4 kids to an empty playground at an odd time of day to avoid the packs of children who could potentially be freaked out by CB sitting on top of the slide, twirling her beads around and around, prohibiting them from going down the slide and shoving any small child who came too close. We were there alone for only a few minutes before 2 young girls arrived with their mother. During their playtime, apparently CB hit the 6 year old girl a few times, something I did not realize.
The 6 year old daughter announced to me very loudly with a dramatically accusing index finger pointed at CB saying "SHE HIT ME, SHE HIT ME!" and I explained why CB hits but that it's still not okay for her to do so. I asked if the girl was alright and tried to emulate all good things and make this a teaching moment which started the girl off on a whole litany of questions about why CB doesn't talk and why does she do this and that and I answered these questions kindly and patiently even though I was not necessarily in the mood.
The girl continued to play and got next to CB once more then yelled "She hit me again!" In my opinion, I really think the girl WANTED to be hit to get attention... she was just that type. I mean, it was an enormous playground with three different slides to go down and NO other kids in the way and I'm not sure why she kept feeling the need to go down the one CB was sitting in front of. Whatever.
Then, the mom yelled over to her kids with her boisterous voice that could crack a sky wide open. A voice that was direct and thick with a southern drawl that didn't sound as friendly as southern drawls usually do. "Let's go!" she commanded tersely of her two daughters. "We can't stay somewhere where people are going to hit you!"
At that moment, I no longer felt apologetic, conspicuous, or exhausted. It all blew off me as my body jumped up off the bench and I took long, purposeful strides, my eyes locking her into a calm but determined stare-down until I was directly in front of her - taller than I usually stand.
As this bitch gathered her bags, head ducked, scurrying away like a little rat, I wasn't letting her escape that easily. She wanted to drop her little morsel loud enough for me to hear without talking directly to my face and I wasn't playing that game today. Maybe she assumed I would just shrink into the fading sun with my poorly behaved daughter, embarrassed. Maybe I would have done that in the old days, but if you have something to say about my girl? You better be ready to hash your sh*t out eye to eye.
My interaction with the Mom was calm and steady, both of us very matter-of-fact but calm. I explained CB's disability to the Mom with a bright smile on my face, she said "Yeah I know" with neither malice nor kindness, as if I was simply telling her the time when she had already glanced at her watch. In less than 2 minutes, our conversation was over without incident. Dry, terse and quite honestly pointless.
That Mom went back to her life and likely never thought of me and CB again. I went back to my life as the mother of a significantly disabled teenage girl. And you know what? I'd take my life over that woman's life ANYday because my life is full of all the things that hers lacks.