Thursday, July 13, 2006

Trolling for Truthiness

I have spent too much time thinking about this.
You have to read down to the comments section to see the war I walked right into.
I am pretty new at blogging and I also don't know when to just walk away sometimes.
Mary writes about it further here.

So, I might use a variety of different adjectives, adverbs and even the occasional noun to describe my life. Others may have an even wider variety. But I don't think 'superficial' has ever been one of them until this lovely troll slung it at me. And so, knowing the difference between a real judgment and an irrelevant insult, of course it didn't bother me, right? Wish I could say that was true.
I wondered often yesterday at the things I was doing:
10am drop off Supergirl and her posse at camp (was this superficial?)
10:30 drop off van for smog check (was this? surely the DMV doesn't think so)
10:50 spend an hour at the social security office getting cards for my children (this? i don't know - supergirl is going to kindergarten...)
12:00 change another poopy diaper, more breastfeeding (no, I don't think this gritty reality is superficial. is that poop on my hand? oh let me go take care of that while I balance the baby on hip with the non-poopy hand!)
12:15 shove cheeseburger into mouth with freshly sanitized hand while nursing and talking with friend (oooh! indulgent lunch date!) about how much we love our babies (now SURELY that counts as superficial, right? cause they're just average babies, nothing special)
1:00 pick up van
1:15 van not ready. dash over to nearby superstore for some plastic crap for Supergirl's upcoming birthday party (now I know if it involves my credit card, it must be superficial, right?)
1:30 van still not ready. nurse baby in grimy garage waiting room.
2:00 RUSH through grocery store to get groceries AND still make it the 20 miles to pick up Supergirl and her friends (it's my carpool day) by 3, jiggle and cajole baby through store to stick to strict schedule...
3:00 pick up and gather children, lunch boxes, backpacks, art projects,
3:10 answer a playdate question with the answer 'no' and drag own screaming child off playground. deal with tantrum. (is this superficial because the child is not 'special' and my parenting is not extreme? really feels extreme in the moment)
3:25 buckle three children into carseats, sing songs for 3 miles then break up some petty arguments and encourage much snack sharing. drop off children that are not mine.
4:15 HOME! NOW the fun begins! we have babyfood making, painting, crying, baths, dinner for those with teeth, more baths for those who insist on wearing their food, really...nobody needs to hear the details of the singing, the book reading, the kisses and hugs;The Bedtime Routine (that lasts for 2 hours) because I am sure you have your own to deal with. Don't you?
But you get the idea.

I have spent time angry at this person, and have come to the conclusion that I have to let it go. It's not about reality, it's about her truthiness. It's not about validating my parenting, it's about her anger. I mean, come on - this is a person who WISHES a special needs child upon another parent, JUST SO THEY KNOW WHAT IT FEELS LIKE! WTF??? (no, cannot contain or muffle anger here. really. Just WTF???) Now THAT shows sincere sensitivity to children! WOW!
I can understand a lot of what this angry little troll is going through - which is what I was trying to say in my original comment - it IS hard to be the parent of a child with special needs! It IS indeed hard to be part of this club you never willingly joined. It IS isolating to have a child that you cannot take out in public unless all defense is in place. It IS ALSO hard to parent your other healthy children and maintain some sense of a normal life when by all accounts you can't find the normalcy. It IS hard when you have just come back from the neurologist having told you your child's brain is not quite right, and your friend calls you to rant about what her ex-husband did at her kid's birthday party. How insensitive! My child may never even go to a freaking birthday party, and she wants to rant in MY ear? Jesus!
But what a waste of time that seems to me now that my 'imperfect child' is gone. How I wish I could have those days I spent angry at the world back again. I would only sing to Elijah, I would let the anger go.
I am not perfect. I am still very angry about losing him. I can't seem to let that all go. Yet. But I know that someday I will have to - or it will destroy me.

So, back to the troll...The anger is leaving me. I just want to have empathy and patience for her (? him?) because I do know in my core, that if someone is that angry, they are in great pain. Clearly this person is NOT getting the support she needs - either from her community of friends, or for her son...I don't know. But I do know that the anger comes from the deep deep pain of being hurt, simply put. To acknowledge that hurt does not mean that you love your child any less, but it feels that way to we-the-mothers sometimes. There is so much guilt attached to those feelings.
Dear Anonymous:
I think you are an amazing mom (dad?). Your son is lucky to have a parent that cares so much to be so involved and dedicated to the commitment of ABA. You are doing a great job as a parent. I wish for you strength and good friends. I hope that at some point, things get easier for you.


Anonymous said...

Something tells me she should have skipped the whole child making gift which comes as being a woman & instead just went shopping for her non sensible Jimmy Choo shoes! How sad!

Mary Tsao said...

You bring up a good point about what's hard about parenting. The truth is... It's all hard and probably hard for everybody. This job is not for wimps!

Hopefully, mothers of children with special needs don't look at mothers of children without and think that we have it easy. This is not easy. Life with children is just not easy.

Okay, that's my belief after a long, hot weekend. I might be tempted to revise if after my nanny gets here on Tuesday! (Oh, lord, please don't call in sick... Please!!!)

Anyway, sorry for the long post, but you are definitely not superficial in any way, shape, or form.

Jenijen said...

Oy!! I missed all this drama because I was super busy taking care of my regular old kids. *snerk*

I'm thinking a whole slew of things about the anon troll, but I won't dirty up your comments with them. Can't wait to see you!!