Saturday, February 17, 2018

The Normals



  It has been a long time since I have been here. Some times there are no words. Emotions can eclipse all forms of communication. Such has been this time in my life.

 It is a hard thing to realize you have been fooled. That you have been a fool is even more difficult to come to terms with.

 There are times when I am overwhelmed with a feeling that it has all been for nothing. Those times pass. I am in a state of flux. Torn between all that and what my soul is whispering to my spirit.



  I will tell you a secret, you were never meant to have read this. Not you. It was meant for those who were like me. The ones with broken bits inside that they can recognize in others yet not in themselves. The ones that weren't shiny and clean. Clean spirits, clean souls, clean thoughts.

  The normal ones who would cross the street before speaking to one such as ourselves. Staring, dry eyed, whispers behind raised hands. It was all a trick though. A child's masquerade. There are no normals. We are all here just pretending to be more than we are and hoping no one looks behind the curtain at the mess we have made of our own lives.

  There is no right car or house,  or mate or bank balance that will make you happy.
Be you. It's really what you are best at, promise.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A Time of Mourning and a Time to Fight



   I never understood when other parents would speak poorly of their children, of their struggle to like and sometimes even love their own. I remember a very strong minded woman going on in detail about the failings of her adult daughter and my visceral reaction to her words. It was to me, as if she had committed the unpardonable sin of motherhood. She had somehow found a way to cause a rift with her child, her future in living breathing form. and I shook my head sympathetically while silently finding fault.  Fool. I was such a judgmental foolish soul.

  I simply could not relate. Now, sadly...mournfully I can. I have been so filled with grief and feelings of betrayal that I have wished fervently to strip away all trace of me from my child. To erase me from her. Not to hurt her, but rather to be at peace in this world. How could this have happened? How did we get here?

  A reporter asked me in earnest, why I kept pushing. My divorce was final, why did I not let it go. She said I was free. I am not the only one to be foolish in such things. However, I am sure that just like me, listening to a mother's raw honesty, speaking of a child who was severed from her, she simply had no context in which to frame the situation. It is inconceivable that a relationship would become so torn that I could no longer be mended.  To lie with impunity for their own gain. I would have not believed it possible. Not my child, not our family. Fool that I am.

   It is very simple really. My reasons for not quitting.  I did not lie. My now ex-husband abused me emotionally, financially and physically, systematically over 7 years and he has not stopped. To be called a liar when I finally say the truth...No I will not accept that. There is so much evidence that what I say is true that the only viable excuse for not holding him accountable is that Pierce County is willfully refusing to enforce the laws both local, state and federal, out of what appears to be a vendetta against me for having the gaul to state the obvious. Putting a name on a building and calling it a place of safety and protection does not make it so. And when that truth is pointed out, the clear violation of a messenger's civil rights, victim or no, is not legal. As I was recently reminded, there is a price to be paid. Everyone wants to think the problems are solved that all their hard work and money, their caring has been fruitful. I understand that. It is a worthy cause.  However, not addressing the issue of Deputies who refuse to enforce the law and Prosecutors who are equally unwilling to even look at evidence.... It has to be dealt with. I am not the only one. If you were to speak candidly to the advocates and counselors on the other side of that building, you would see that. Those people work hard and I believe some in the Sheriff's Department do to. However, when they choose to ignore Officer misconduct?  Where does that fit with the "Walk A Mile In Her Shoes" campaign?

   Their own inaction underscore my words. Nothing has changed. They are merely placating the public.  And people like me, who speak out...that treatment hasn't changed either. I have been followed, threatened, left destitute and homeless. All because I refused to play nice. I was warned. I just really didn't believe the vengefulness would be so blatant. So systematic.

  Let me be clear, I don't want anyone to get in trouble, I want them to be trained. I want that building to be what is was supposed to be. I want the steady stream of victims who walk through their doors to matter. Is that so much to ask? And yes, I would like an apology. Not publicly, just an acknowledgement that the way I was treated was wrong.

   I tried to report illegal activities of both my then estranged husband and others and in response I was threatened by a Pierce County Sargent. Warned that my words would be taken seriously and it was a crime to make valse accusations. He said this as an opening salvo to a phone call he made to me. Where does that happen? I have been called every vile name imaginable and accused of many horrid things....however where is the proof? Where are the charges? What are my crimes? My phone has been searched, my computer as well and to what end? When was the last time you heard of a Domestic violence victim having their lives monitored by LE? Not to mention the side talks and taunting. Where does this happen? And why is it being allowed to continue? The truth will come out, all of it. The only way to be a better community is to to fix what is broken and to do that we have to admit it is most definitely damaged.

  When appearing before the court commissioner in an attempt to obtain a permanent Restraining Order on December 2, the commissioner's reasoning for not granting it was that my ex-husband had not done anything since the divorce was granted, two weeks earlier. He had broken it countless times before, but because he had laid low for two weeks...hey, he is no longer a threat. What asinine thinking is that? I get chastised for saying these things...for not softening my words. But let me be clear, this is my life and if my basic rights as a human being are continually violated I am not going to cow-tow to the people who are trampling on my civil liberties. If they can't uphold their sworn duties and have no respect for the laws and rights of those who come before them, they should not be surprised when they do not receive the respect they think a job title allows them.

  In court just the other day my ex-husband's attorney Mr. Rogge, stated that they had used a private detective to, in some way serval me. This seems to have broken the restraining order...but in this county those aren't worth the paper they are written on if the Sheriff's Department and the Prosecutor's Office refuse to enforce the laws they are supposed to uphold. By the way, I have never been interviewed by the Prosecutor's office, nor has my mother or step father who have all been witnesses to various abuses of both the ex-husband and Pierce County Sheriff Deputies and the issues with my daughter.

  It has been made very clear that not only does what happened to me not matter, but my continuing to seek justice and change have made me a target of Pierce County's many departments. First Sargent Villemosa (hope I got that spelling right) then Deputy Kreis and Deputy Wulik, then the female prosecutor at the Crystal Judson Center who refused, on the record, her words, to look at any evidence of spousal abuse that I put in front of her. She said this, while looking at the bruises left on my chest by my abuser's knees. Next, moving on to Judge Serko who intentionally made it impossible for me to hire an attorney and refused to allow me funds to do so. Let me remind you that my ex-husband's lawyer was paid well over $20,000 from MY portion of marital monies. My support was also deducted from that same stream of money, mine. I did not come to my marriage broke, nor did I fail to contribute to our finances during our marriage. I financially bailed my then, husband out multiple times. Now however, because I am disabled, I am labeled a gold digger and a liar. Not just any liar-no the worse kind a lowly thing that would try to use spousal abuse as a way to ... gain what? This is a no fault state, there is no benefit in a divorce court for such claims. My abuser going to jail would harm me financially and I would have lost my health benefits. I had nothing to gain by coming forward and so much to lose. All I wanted was to be safe. To be heard. To be believed. And it's the cruelest thing of all that the very people that are supposed to support and protect victims aren't.

  The Sheriff department has the photos of my bruises, my medical records have been offered up, text messages and e-mails of my abuser admitting the abuse and apologizing ... all ignored. Because I am not a good little girl who bows her head and crawls away, I am a pharaoh. Mocked, shunned and financially punished by a Superior Court Judge who doesn't even pretend to follow the rules of the court or the laws of our state. I am left homeless, penniless and now he is threatening to take my car as well. My ex-husband has two vehicles, much newer than mine and of course paid off, 2 houses all of our financial assets and many of mine that I came into the marriage with, ordered by the Judge. I have been awarded exactly nothing. Because I have no attorney, no advocate and no money to retain one. I am alone and overwhelmed.

  Where in the realm of the law does a marriage with assets over $900,000, in a 50/50 state that is no fault leave one of the parties penniless? Literally owing the other party money? Where is it acceptable for a person to come before Supreme Court Judge with no evidence of any debt, not one receipt or bill, simply their word and they are given their spouses private property to absorb those none existent debts? How after taking that property to cancel out debts does that party have no right to the property that caused the alleged bills?

  So, I paid for my ex-husband's attorney, I paid for my own support. I paid for all the "debt" and I received...nothing. My clothes and a red couch and best of all Edgar.

   I will scrap the money together to get the transcripts and place them here...maybe someone out there can explain the comments and judgements handed down from the Judge Serko and Judge Rumbaugh in this case, because they defy reason.

  I am not done. I could careless for the person I thought I married, that is long in the past. However the continue misuse of the system to further his abuse...no, that will not do. To brand me a liar and worse, no. That is what drives me forward. I told the truth. I trusted the system and I have been punished for that.

  Now what of that adult who is also my child...we are broken in a way that I cannot see as fixable. Others tell me to give it time...but how?

  You see, the second time my abuser attacked me I left and went to my daughter's home. She and her husband had already talked to me about some inappropriate behaviors of my then husband. She worked for divorce lawyers, Lambino Martino (a law firm you may have heard of).  She spoke to Mr Martino and told him I would call. I did but couldn't get through the interview. All I could do was cry. I felt so....betrayed, stupid, foolish.. how could I end up there again? When you do not grow up experiencing love..it makes it difficult to identify what it is. You do not know it. I stayed with my daughter for a few days, while my abuser texted his pleas for me to come home, his apologies and promises...My daughter had a plan, remove one half of the money from our bank account, which was in the 6 digits and stay with her and her husband. Her boss would represent me.

 I made it to the bank, a Wells Fargo in Olympia and wrote out a check, trembling the entire time. In my fear and trepidation I dropped a few zeros on the withdrawal slip, still it was enough for an attorney. The teller said I needed approval from the manager for the withdrawal, because it was not my branch. I was ushered to her desk. I could feel the tears stinging my eyes, knew I was powerless to stop them from rolling down. Hating myself for being so weak, so small I sat before her.  She was all business, insisted that she must call my husband before releasing any funds to me....from our account...with my name clearly on it, it felt as if I was once again trapped, less than. As if I were a wayward child and not a grown adult with valid I.D. and a bank account. The tears flowed freely then. I felt humiliated. Of course he said no. Then he asked to speak to me. There were more pleas to return home, I had to hang up. I fled to the silence of my car and bawled as my phone continually rang. After four calls I answered. His message was simple come home and so I went.

  My daughter was furious. She told me if I left him again I could not come back to her house. I had left twice before and she closed her door to me. Life went on, every time I made my own money, my husband insisted I hand it over or withheld money telling me to use my own. In short he kept me broke. I did not see it for what it was at the time. Whenever we went out he was generous, but that was the rub, it was always his choice and his control of the finances.

  In one way he changed when I returned. I did leave three more times, staying at the Wesley Inn on those occasions, relying on my own credit card, which I kept despite his insistence that I close the account.  As stingy as he became with me, the more generous he became with two of my children, my daughters. He instructed me that I was no longer allowed to give them money or even things without going through him first. He started seeing them without me. He cut me out of my own family, my own life. He took them looking for cars for my daughters and travel trailers for my son-in-law, big screen TVs and Apple laptops became plentiful. I was happy for my children. They were all struggling to start their own adult lives. I was grateful. Until he started planning vacations that I would not be invited to. Saying I wouldn't enjoy going. Meeting over lunches and dinners that I was not to attend. It was humiliating...the isolation. The powerlessness. The sting of knowing your daughters would go so willingly along....

  When that last horrible night/early morning happened I had no idea the side relationships and plans already in place.  I called my children, my reasons for living, the ones I trusted more than any soul on this earth, it never occurred to me that they knew already. That plans were being made and lies told to placate me, to delay me....I had no idea until I saw my daughter standing next to my estranged husband...I could not comprehend it. She had been texting me all day. Messages of love and support and also inquiries as to my plans and whereabouts...I was clueless.

  The fact that this is a heart wrenching repeat of my childhood is not lost on me. Again those that are supposed to be loyal and loving choose to discard me, to once again find me disposable to further their own gain. That it's being done by those that I loved most in this world....is a grief I would not wish on anyone. The betrayal and the lies....tonight, in this moment I cannot see the possibility of reconciliation. A barrier has been put up so big that I, who tilt at windmills simply cannot imagine moving this one of stone. The one between us. I mourn the death of their loss, which is made all the worse for the studied intentionality of it.  8 years ago I had three children who gave my life meaning. Today, I have one. Loyal, kind hearted, I am so proud to be his mother. It doesn't take away the pain of the loses.

   I grieve. I grieve a loss of trust, the devastation of betrayal, I mourn the death of a false reality of a happy, loving family. I understand that mother's pain, the one I too shunned and blamed so long ago. Compassion. I am forever learning to be more compassionate.  A fool's quest is knowledge.

  I keep meaning to put up the texts and the other proof. I don't know why I can't so far. I suppose it will make it real. There is a deep humiliation and pain to know that those I love most do not return that love. There is something about your child's smile that heals and breathes life into a parent and as in all things, the other side of that is the haunting, gnawing ache from the loss of that magical balm.
Of all the things taken from me, those are the things I will forever mourn.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Sloth


The Smallest Bird is 


Sloth.  
While the others vied for power
,
Sloth could not be bothered. 
He refused to grow in stature, 
instead he honed his energy on
escaping the carrion's glower. 

In fact so tiny was his
 form 
and so easily 
was he missed 

he neither flew on 
his own wing 
nor
 hunted his own grist.

 

He kept himself perfectly still 

until the watcher's eye grew
 bored,   

then slowly ever so 

he would latch onto 
another 
bird and 
ride as if a lord. 



He was a trickster of 
another sort

 using no slight 
of hand 

It was by doing 
the very least 

that he took grew to take 
command.



The toll of this 
was very high
 
and of course it
 brought him 
low

. 
He had no choice 
as to what he ate
 
nor where he chose
 to go

.

Too weak to hold 
himself aloft 

he was sure to 
someday tumble. 

His body was too 
soft, 

his achievements
 too 
humble.




                                                     

Monday, February 3, 2014

Philip Seymour Hoffman Has Died


   Philip Seymour Hoffman has died. We have all lost more than can be put into words. He was quietly, elegantly, perfect at his craft. So much so, that we forgot it was an act, a character and not the man himself. I first saw his brilliance as Freddie Miles, in The Talented Mr. Ripley and he made the movie.  I can see him so clearly all these years later, understated, powerful, dressing down Matt Damon with a glance and a few careful words. There was something in his presence, he was more aware then the others. You would lean in to hear him speak. He had a way of delivering a line that let you know he knew things, secrets, the names of the demons that plague us all.

   As with any great gift comes equal parts sorrow. All genius must be fed on suffering, and Mr. Hoffman was not spared. You need never have had to see an interview he sat for, or talked to him in person, it was written in the set of his face. It was in his eyes when he played the role of the questionable Father Brendan Flynn, in Doubt. He had  easily access to a reservoir of pain to draw upon. And he drank it in huge gulps, so that we could all believe in whatever story he was telling us at the time.

  Philip Seymour Hoffman has died. He cannot be revived or replaced. He has left us, abandoned, alone. His talent came at a high price, too high. Do not allow anyone to drag his name or reputation low because of the circumstances of his passing. Mr. Hoffman knew the names of so many demons because he lived with them. We only caught a flash, a small glint of their shadows, however he faced them straight on and they set their teeth upon him, one needle prick at a time. Their jaws became unhinged to take in more of him and leaving him less. Emptied at last.

  For those who cannot find mercy, stop looking for fault. It is no treasure, and it buys nothing of value. No one has lost more, or suffered as much, as Mr. Hoffman himself.  Please see it for what it was, this was a theft. He lost all of his tomorrows, his hope, everything that he could have been and done. Gone.

  Philip Seymour Hoffman has died, and with him, so has his demons. It was a brutal and valiant battle, in the end it was a draw. They took his life and he took his leave.

 



Saturday, November 23, 2013

Envy




    Envy


  The birds were seven in number.

A flock of black ink blotting out the light.

  First was always Envy, an evil little beast. Surveying all with cold dead eyes.
Measuring out who had what, and more importantly how she intended to take it.
 Her days were spent on memories of what she had been made to live without.
Having been neither graced with beauty, nor any other great talent to set her apart
She had settled on becoming the very best at being the very worst.

  A younger bird might have cawed at the unfairness of the world. Crying out
for someone, anyone to right the accounts.

  But not Envy.

  Envy is it's own bookkeeper. She is a ledger maker, with a withered heart. Thrusting her head first
one direction and then another. Endlessly scheming on what to embezzle.
What must she have? Envy will swoop into your window the crown of friendship on her
craven head. Beware her attachment to you will become obsessive. Plying to win your adoration.
Be careful, be quick. If you must find a place at your hearth for Envy, place her in the liar's chair.
It is the only honest thing to be done.

   She will claw at your back while she curries favor with your love.
  Hoarding your belongings, let her go.
Nothing she can take from you, is worth mourning over.
No matter what bauble she gathers, it will never be enough.
She sits in her nest crowing her victories.
The things she has stolen. The hurt she has caused.
The power she wields in the expanse of her wing.

Envy is a hateful, foolish creature.

 A cousin to jealousy though her robes are colored carbon, not emerald.
She is ever her first victim. With each sin committed, age falters.
Feathers scattered in the wind. They fall from her molted form.
Leaving patches of bald, pinkish, puckered flesh.
Bleeding wounds where once there had been ebony plumage.

Envy is a liar, a thief, a petty discount version of what she was meant to be.
She is a promise lost. So intent was she on keeping others from the
air, she forgot that she too could have flown free.
Envy believes herself clever, she is not. She is merely a wicked
being whose soul has been lost.

 The first bird to fall is always Envy. She has not the heart, nor the strength
to survive on her own. Having spent her days in thievery and vice she has
no reserves of hope nor love. Weep for her as she lifts from her throne of
lies. See her off one last time. Close up your house and your heart.

Envy is death on pinion spread out to cast shadows on the living.
She has no power unless you allow her yours.





Thursday, March 14, 2013

You Will Never Pee Alone




   I spent the last afternoon and evening doing one of my favorite things. I am a voracious reader.  So
   when a blogger/author/unicorn lover/ Queen of all things sporky started posting about a book that she had contributed in writing, I knew I would have to investigate this. The name alone is a testament to Parenthood. "I Just Want to Pee Alone" I think every parent has dreamed of the sheer bliss of being able to close the bathroom door and let nature take it course naturally. Alone, without a chorus of "MOM, MOM, MOMMY, MAMA." But just like that old axiom "If you want your dinner to be served quicker in a restaurant, go to the bathroom" there is "If you want to spend some, not so quality time with your entire brood, head for the Toto." I volunteered to read it and let you know what I honestly thought.

  So, I settled down fully preparing to enjoy a stroll down memory lane. I am in that sweet spot where my children are all adults. Living and loving and working all on their own. I still see them on the regular, but now when they visit, they usually don't barge in the bathroom, usually. When I started reading though I got far more than that. This book is more than you'd think. This is not just some quickly thrown together group of stories about the trials of parenthood. No, this has real tips you need to get through life. Like the need to take your own wet naps when burying your mother...oh, and a small scoop too. Trust me and rubber gloves and maybe a poncho.

  Also, do not, no matter how excited you are to meet Patti, from Insane In The Mom-Brain...do not kiss her on the mouth. Or share a beverage with her. I do not care if she gargles first with hand sanitizer the answer is no.  Get your own damn glass....I will not tell you her shame...lets just say it involves baby poop and her mouth. Enough said. Moving on.

   It would be so easy to say that this is a mommy bloggers, funny book. It is and it is raw and real. There are so many bare naked truths shared. So much honesty about the ugly side of parenting. The one that they do not tell you about. Even if they had told you, you would not have listened. You never know more about parenting your children than when they are still pretend children who are shiny and perfect and don't spew biohazards at you.

  There are many things in this world that are hard. Waking up at 6:30, smearing hello kitty make up on your face and using baby oil to slide into your wet blue jeans before the bus comes on the first day of high school is hard....Being the designated driver on ladies night with dollar well drinks and cute guys trying to liquor you up, is hard. Not killing your husband for making "that time of the month" jokes. Still being attracted to him after he dutch ovens you...also hard. But listen up buttercup it is nothing and I mean nothing compared to being a snot rag, vomit catcher, poop licker baby breeder. There is practical useful advice here and war stories. Learn from their battles, because there will be blood. There will be tears and sickness and sleepless nights.

  And if that little bundle of bio waste is not what you expected. If in this world of perfectly formed beings, yours is not, well then it gets real. Ask these women. There is nothing so harrowing as fighting for your child just to create something like a normal life.  So, when these talented loving, brave writers let you see behind the curtain, please take the time. It is well worth the price of admission to the madness of mothering. These women share their hurts, faults and fears, and in doing so they honor us. They are revealing their foibles and failings. Also, they are really saying that we are not alone. We all struggle with loving parenthood. No matter what you have read or how you have scheduled and organized parenting in advance, you will fail. Accept that going in and you and your young will be the better for it.

   Nobody asked me but I will tell you anyway.....you are never going to be able to pee by yourself. There I told you. First it will be your children, then your spouse and later, your grandchildren. yes...just let that sit there and ruminate. You will have grandchildren. Try not to laugh at your children when they come in after a long night of no sleep, smelling like week old kitty litter and looking even worse. Hand them this book, it will still be relevant. Good writing is ageless.

                                  I Just Want To Pee Alone

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Words that Wound



  I remember the first time I ever noticed that some children were born differently. I was at a new school and I was filled with both wonder and fear. Not just about a new school, or other children. Everything scared me. Having lived a life of virtual solitude the stimulus of it all overwhelmed me. I was a quiet child, watching everything. Measuring the threat level of everywhere I went. So, when we were led down into the basement of, what to me was a giant, dark tomb of a building, I was already fearful. I noticed them almost immediately. They were at the other end of the long, low space. Someones brilliant idea of the perfect place to unleash children in the winter months. In my mind it was very dark, which I am sure added to my perception of these new creatures. No matter how dim it was, it could not hide the fact that they were different. I remember one day edging closer...they were always kept away from us and I did not know why. There was one boy, with a red padded helmet and as I watched transfixed, he stood very close to the concrete wall and banged his head on the flat cold surface. I ran to my teacher, filled with confusion and afraid for this other child. I pointed him out and begged her to help him. She waved me off dismissively and said that he was retarded.

  I tried to ask her what that meant. She was done with me. She told me to stay at my own end of the play area (that is what they called it) and to go play or sit with my back to the wall in the corner. She stared me down, waiting for me to decide my own fate. It took a long time for me to ask my mother. She was not one to take questioning well. She would rather we were still. It was the school's role to educate us. Finely I did ask and she to her own credit, explained that this meant that these children had had some part of their development retarded and something in her words, I truthfully do not remember them in detail, that made me think they were doomed. Or somehow broken or less than. But she did say, that I was not to use that word. And with that I had my full education of children with special needs.

  I remember that they kept them in a separate part of the school. They ate before us, so we did not share the cafeteria with them. I once was sent to pass a note from the office to one of their teachers. I had never been down that part of the school. Where our hallways were decorated with craft paper turkeys and colorful paper plates painted with happy scenes, here they were bare. I could hear them before I ever opened the door. It was all strange noises. That filled me with even more fear. Guttural outbursts and loud voices I could not understand. I tried to look down and not stare at them and give the little yellow paper to the stern teacher and then as the door closed behind me, I ran. We were not allowed to run in the hallways and I was always one to follow the rules. But, not that time. I ran for the safety of happy pictures of happy children and the quiet comfort of a classroom mored in controlled discipline.

  I never thought much of those children again. My life was full of so many of my own challenges. It would not be until I had my own children and volunteered in their schools that would I find out the bittersweet joy of actually knowing a special needs child. Her name was Kara. She was in a special little wheelchair that had a little cushion to support her head. I would read to the children. That was my special talent. I loved to teach them words and introduce them to the magic that lived in books. Every Wednesday I sat down with the children one on one and helped them understand how a string of letters became something more. I had seen Kara, I had smiled at her and held eye contact. My son seemed to love her. It was while sitting with her and silently puzzling in my head how to help teach this child. I had no idea what she knew or could do. She was a clever little minx. She smiled and laughed and understood my words. She may not be able to speak clearly, but she had no trouble absorbing the lessons.

  She became one of my favorites. She seemed always to be smiling. I did not know, when I sat down with her that first time, remembering the only experiences I had ever had with such a child, that she would be the one to teach me. She was not interested in limits that others had set for her. She could not run or even stand, but she was far freer than so many adults. There came a day when I would be called into the office. My son, who was a middle child and very much a loving soul, had gotten into a fight. Through telling and retelling the events of the day it was reported that one of my son's favorite things was being chosen to help Kara navigate around at recess. Times had changed greatly from when I was a child. And it was while doing this that some other child had used the "R" word. I had never talked to my children about it's use. I think their teachers must have taught them. I had not thought of that word or it's loaded meaning for a child's lifetime. My son had first stood up for Kara and then there was pushing, which of course is how we all landed there in that room discussing it.

  I had taught my son to keep his hands on his own body and it was not like him to be physical. I remember that he got off with a warning and that I told him that it was not okay to push people and he answered me with a child's simple truth. "It is not okay to call Kara that. She is not retarded. She is my friend." We would as a family have the opportunities to get to know and love many children of different levels of special needs. They have enriched all of our lives. There are words that are so egregious, so harmful that they should not be uttered. Surely, when this particular word was first used to describe a set of challenges a child may be born with, I would like to think it was not meant to be offensive. However, like so many other seemingly benign labels that have come to mean something far different than their origins, this word has come to mean less than, not worthy, stupid and a slew of other evil connotations which should never be said to or about anyone. Most especially not the sweet spirited souls who every day live beyond limits that their bodies and minds may try to set for them. I have a deep love and respect for both these children and their strong, brave parents. Who, not only have to deal with the day to day demands of bodies that do not move on their own, or children who will never say " I love you mama, daddy" and my hear breaks for them. I hold them in the highest esteem for the daily trials that we will never fully understand. We cannot. I can relate to a harried mother who's two year old will not eat his food or take his nap. That I understand.  But that mother or father who will never know the joy of a day with no accidents. Or the promise of all of those special dreams we hold out for our children. Little league and training wheels, first dates and proms. They let go of many of these dreams that die ever so slowly when faced with this worlds realities.

 I think of all these things and I am overcome. I cannot for the life of me grasp the depth of strength of pure will power to deal with this jaded world that would think it appropriate to use such language. I would not make it through the stares and rude comments, there is no way I would stay out of jail if someone dared to use such a diminishing hateful word in front of my child or myself. We all carry our challenges, our own special needs. Most of us can hide them. We are all broken and we all suffer. Ladling out pain to others will never lessen our own. Ignorance is no excuse for throwing out hate. In case you have not been told, incase you did not know... it is never okay to call anyone, in any context "retarded".  Remember that words have power. And you are a compilation of your thoughts, deeds and words. The next time you see a parent out and about, trying to have a normal life just running errands with a child who may never walk or talk or sing, show compassion. Give them a smile, a kind word a place ahead of you in line. Send up words of prayer for them and their family. You may not even realize the harm you inflict with a side glance and a grimace or a downward stare. These are tiny paper cuts. But using the "r" word is purely hateful and for that you have no excuse. When given the choice be kind. Life is hard enough, do not add to another's burden.