Smile when they want you to frown, be happy when they expect to you to be sad, laugh when they think you'll cry. Don't live based on what others think or try to fit in, but always be in the best of yourself that's what makes you outstanding. ~Blaze Olam
I feel like I let you down a little bit today. I don’t often feel this way. Normally, I really feel like I do a great job advocating for you, taking care of you, and helping you achieve your potential. But today at your playground, the woman sitting on the accessible swing caught me off-guard. I was a bit shocked and speechless at what she said, which is weird for me…we all know that, but I should have addressed her comment. I should have followed your lead and called her on her ignorant and unnecessary comment.
Kate, I want to let you know that I learn something from you on a regular basis. Today you showed me that you truly are your own self-advocate. I know you were sad to leave the playground tonight, but I loved holding your hand as we walked out together. The woman sitting on the swing was loud and overbearing, but we didn’t really pay her any attention until she said “I feel so sorry for that little girl” as you walked by. I was so proud of you for instantly turning around to face her and make her look you in the eye. You made her really face the reality of her off-the-cuff comment. She was stunned at your honesty and confidence. You totally disarmed her while your mother stood by, baffled, and missed the opportunity to educate this woman. I promise that I won’t let that happen again. Perhaps we have been sheltered in our little community in Elmira. I know people look at you and think a lot of things, but I would have never imagined people would look at you and feel sorry for you.
So next time this happens to us, Kate, I am ready. This is what I will tell her.
Don’t feel sorry for my daughter. Kate is so well-loved, well cared for, and happy in her own skin, which makes her exceptionally rare and special. She loves her life and she loves her family. And she has achieved more and contributed more to our world in her 4 short years than most do in a lifetime. When you look at her, you should see a stunningly beautiful little girl with a contagious smile and a feisty personality. You should see that she is fiercely loyal and passionate about life. There is absolutely nothing to be sorry about. Kate is living life to the fullest.
Kate, there are a lot of people in this world who put others down to make themselves feel better. This will probably happen to us a lot. I’m not sure why…people could be jealous, unhappy, sad…whatever. None of that matters. We have each other and we have love.
Next time, Mommy will have your back. Thanks for teaching me how to handle these situations. I’m sorry I even shed a tear over this. I’m always a bit emotional at this time of year. It’s been 3 years since we lost Cooper and then a week later, visited the neurologist who performed the AS test. It’s still hard for me to face how difficult that was. This year, I don’t have something like building a playground <grin> to distract me from the pain. It still hurts a bit. Thank you for helping me through it. I love you more than life itself.
Kelly is Kate's devoted, caring, Type-A mom. Kelly is a high school physics teacher who earned her masters degree in neuroscience from McMaster University in 2003.