Having a special needs child in no way makes you a better parent. Some would claim that it makes it even more difficult to be one. I believe that it has made me a more conscientious one. I am aware of so much more than I would be otherwise. It’s true that sometimes I’m left grasping to loose ends only to become entangled in them moments later. However, more often than not, I am on my toes. Today I took Braden on a date, since it was his sister’s first day at school and he hasn’t started back yet. We found ourselves at one of those inflatable type places. I think he had a blast, but I also think he learned some valuable lessons. Perhaps I learned more than even he did though.
The place was nearly empty since we arrived early. I am aware that fewer children means fewer germs and tripping hazards. About half way through our one hour stay a group of children who were gathering for a “play date” arrived. The moms enjoyed themselves leisurely resting in the comfy chairs while their children expelled their energy bouncing around. All was well until they started throwing balls at my child. They didn’t do this because he was different. I’m sure that will happen all too often in our future. No, these children were just being mean. I stood back and watched Braden get frustrated. He finally gave up and came over to me. “Those kids are bullies Mom! I no like them!” he declared. Inwardly smiling that my child can recognize a bully when he sees one. My lessons must be getting through! So, we wandered and played some more. With only fifteen minutes left, it came time for his last slide. The only problem was the group had torn apart the play mats and were using them as swords. Unfortunately, it was my child that they tried to slay. They hit him square in the jaw, and he looked at me expectantly. I asked him what he thought he should do. He then told them to stop, but the meanest of the children laughed at him and did it again. Now with pleading eyes Braden turns to me. “That was mean,” I inform the four year old. He laughed at me. It was in that moment, I realized something. My son was going to learn a large lesson with however I chose to handle this situation. No pressure, eh?
I want my son to learn to stand up for himself, to know that bullying is not acceptable. Unfortunately, I am not very good at handling confrontation. I knew I needed to at this juncture though. So, I walked over to the women who were too busy chatting to notice. A polite excuse me, your children are hitting, etc. later, one of the mothers went over and told her children to give them their makeshift swords. “I guess I shouldn’t have allowed them to do that, right?” she said rhetorically. I very clearly replied, “Not really.” She didn’t appreciate it, but at least one of them could have randomly checked on the kids. Secondly, she should have at least made the children apologize and perhaps even sit out of playing for a while. That’s just my humble opinion though. It mattered little though, because my child got to see his mother stand up. I hope that it’s a lesson he learned and will carry with him. Having Braden as my child is such a gift. I HATE what A-T does to him. However, I am thankful for everything he has taught me. I truly am one very lucky mom. I know because I nearly cried when he came sliding down with a big grin and declared quite loudly, “Thanks Mom! You the best mommy in the whole wide world!” I love him so very very much. I am so happy for ever day that I get to continue being his mother. May there be many many years ahead of us. Please, oh please.