"She looks like she belongs in special ed."
The other mom she was speaking to guffawed a bit and the conversation took another turn before I could pick my jaw up off the floor and say something. Just a few moments earlier I had been talking about how I had visited a new special education room for Jason. No details, just that it was something I had done. I don't think the mom even registered that what she had said was offensive but it still cut me to the core. I'm kicking myself because I didn't jump in and say something, but at the same time, I know I will get further with people if I keep my red-headed temper in check too. Turning into a crazed lunatic mom would not have been helpful.
However, had Jason been there or one of my other kids heard her, I would have. As it was, only myself and the other two women were present.
I am the proud parent of a child in special education. Things are HARD for him. Things that come easy to so many of us out there. He works constantly to achieve the goals set before him. Yet, still he's falling behind. His brain doesn't work like mine. And what's even worse is that he UNDERSTANDS that it doesn't and why it is that way. He sees his little sister catching up to him and passing him in some areas, but he still get up every morning with a smile on his face and greets the day ready to try again.
Yet, our society celebrates intelligence and makes fun of people who differ from the norm. Since becoming a special education mom I am so much more aware of this. Much the way I became aware about comments people make about adoption and mental health. You can hear it in comics routines, watch it in cartoons and hear the names called at recess. Sponge Bob is outlawed in our house as are a lot of shows that depict people being teased and picked on because it's fun to pick on the slow kid.
Next week, when I take Hannah to dance, I'll be calmer and have a clearer head. I'm hoping I can bring up how hurtful her comments were and do a little social educating while I'm at it. But the next time you are talking with someone, think about what you are saying. You never know when the words you are using might be harmful to the people around you.