I’ve had a yucky day. It’s Thursday and my *swing day* (depending on the week– a meeting for work, teaching a class, or today’s activity, chores and errands.) and today I did the week’s marketing.
We live in a very nice suburb of a large Midwestern city. Our village is a bedroom community, with everyone knowing each other and their kids. You never know who you will run into at the local grocery store and today I saw a friend. Or I had thought she was a friend.
Judy (not her name) is the Mom of one of The Youngest’s best friends from grade school. Her son was probably my favorite of all of The Youngest’s grade school buddys. He was a lovely boy, well mannered and as sweet as sweet can be. He was always nice and tolerant of Our Kiddo, often a way we separated the wheat from the chaff with The Middle Boy’s and The Youngest’s friends. But he was always a bit, well, slow. We found out, just before Jr. High graduation, he had severe dyslexia and would be attending a boarding school in Vermont for kids like him. He did well, attended a junior college connected with the boarding school, then came home and applied to four year colleges. He did NOT do well and is now a manager of a body shop, something his physician mother and physician father are not happy about.
Anyway, getting back to today. When I saw Judy, I waved and smiled. At first, she seemed to ignore me but then guided her grocery chart next to mine….and let me have it! She said everything came easily with my kids and how dare I and…….I didn’t deserve kids like The Middle Boy and The Youngest because I never worked for it and hadn’t been as involved as she thought I should be…blah, blah, blah. It was shocking, since she knows our oldest son has severe autism, is non-verbal and still lives at home (with our state, we may have to DIE before there’s a place for him in any group home).
Judy also doesn’t know The Youngest has a chronic illness, diagnosed his senior year of high school. He almost died twice and we finally had to pull him out of school the last semester to finish with tutors. He dictated his college application essays to me from his hospital bed because we felt if he did pull through, he should be able to go to college as he planned. It sucked but he is doing okay-ish now. He’s pissed he has this illness and pissed he will have to take medication for the rest of his life and pissed he has to deal with the whole thing. He was able to go to college and grad school and is home now (if truth be told) because we thought he should have some TLC while he worked before going back to school and maybe get his treatment tweaked a bit. This ain’t been easy, folks.
But Judy explosion at the grocery store got me to thinking…what do any of us deserve? We have children–by birth or adoption or ?, doesn’t matter–but we are not promised perfect children. We are not promised an easy time or smooth sailing or any other cliche you can think of. We are promised a child, imperfect or not, to love. And we love them and do the best we can.
We don’t know what anyone else has to go through with their children. They may appear *perfect* but have hidden challenges we don’t have any right to know about. It’s not our place to judge those who seem better off than we or whose kid is doing *better* with the same autism treatment as ours. We all deserve good things and sometimes we get them and sometime we don’t.
I let Judy yell for a bit and then, since I didn’t want to make a scene in front of the cantaloupes, gave her the Finger (yeah, I did….I couldn’t help it!) and got my grocery cart the heck outta there. I headed to the opposite side of the store to shop and finish what I needed to do. The Kiddo had to be picked up from his Day Program after I did the grocery shopping and only had a certain amount of time to get this done today……yep, just livin’ the life of luxury with my adult developmentally disabled son…..where are my bonbons?
Maybe I’m wrong, but what I don’t deserve is being yelled at in public!