Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Where We Are

I think that one of the things that makes my life somewhat more difficult than I envisioned it being is that I often feel like I am Hope’s Bitch, to plagiarize from Peggy Orenstein.

I mean to say that if I knew, definitively, that D. would never progress pass a certain point, I think I could find my peace with that. I could grieve wholeheartedly and unabashedly, wallow in my sorrow and misery, and then emerge, blinking into the sun. I could eventually learn to feel the warmth of its rays on my skin again, and to remember that I like that feeling, and remember what joy feels like, what happiness is. And eventually I would be happy.

But I don’t know that. I don’t know anything definitively right now, and that is the terrifying part. Because I continue to hope.

Sometimes when I tell people that I hope D. will return to the school my other children attend by first or second grade, even with help from the resource room, even if he can’t do the full dual-language curriculum, I think I see a little bit of pity pass through their eyes. Oh, that poor woman, I imagine them thinking. She really believes that. Boy, is she in for a wake-up call.

(I realize that, in fact, their actual thoughts may be more along the lines of, Wait, what did I decide I was making for dinner tonight? but still.)

I see people go out of their way to greet my son, or I see them excuse his behavior, or in one particularly horrifying case… We were with friends, having a barbecue, and suddenly S. was crying. “J. said D. talks funny and they made fun of his voice.” So, fine. A five year old was laughing at a four year old. But later that evening, the child’s parents made him call to apologize, and then they got on the phone and explained to me what they told J. about D. and that they hoped the explanation did D. justice, and the whole thing was… well, I found it terribly embarrassing, because they wouldn’t have made him call to apologize if he made fun of S., for example. But I guess it wasn’t National Make Fun of the Handicapped Week, so….

Anyway, I get calls and comments about my bravery or whatever, and I keep a smile on my face and thank the well-meaning people who would be stunned if they knew how insulting I find the whole thing. And I wonder if I’m really not Hope’s Bitch, but rather just a plain bitch, and I have to tell you that the answer is probably yes.


lisa said...

The whole bravery thing IS insulting, because it's like, what is so bad that I have to be brave? I may be hope's bitch too but from the things you've mentioned about D, it sounds like he does have a very good chance of returning to that school. I sometimes wonder if I'm hope's bitch too because there's still so much I'm unsure of with regards to J, but better to hope than to give up too soon.

Lisa b said...

I am a total bitch and proud of it. It seems to be very helpful on the mother-of-handicapped-child scene to be able to kick it up a notch with the social services.

I also wonder if it is clear to others, such as therapists and doctors, where this is going. I think you are right though, they aren't thinking anything other than about their own lives.

Melissa Ramirez said...

Recently found your blog and I appreciate your honesty. My baby is 19 months and with more challenges than I could list. You speak my mind. Thanks.