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Archive for March, 2015

I’m standing in the entrance of Brooke’s school.  It’s an hour after the end of school and kids are now trickling out from their after school activities.  As I stand on one side of the entryway, looking for my baby, I hear a group of kids behind me chattering away at 100 miles per hour.  It’s always tough for me to listen to Brooke’s schoolmates because they all speak with a fluidity and spontaneity that has eluded her from the very beginning.  I always end up doing exactly what I should not…comparing.

This day is no different.

Then I hear it.  Someone says, “he’s so retarded!”

I tense up.  The hair on my neck rises.  I prepare myself to be “that parent”; to turn around and say something…anything.  Despite being an adult, I am in unfamiliar territory.  This is not the school Katie goes to; where a majority of the kids know who I am.  I have a high profile in Katie’s middle school.  My profile at Brooke’s middle school is hardly a blip.  I take a deep breath and turn to make sure the moment doesn’t pass unchallenged.

Then it happens.

“Hey! Don’t use that word!”
“Yeah!  That’s offensive.”
“Not cool!”

These are not words coming out of my mouth.  They are coming out of the other kids that are behind me.  I let out a sigh.  I resist the urge to turn around because these kids don’t need me to say anything.  They get it.  They are 12, 13, 14 years old and for the most part, they get it.

Which brings me to Steve Harvey.

This morning, on his radio show, his alter ego, Sister Odell, went off on a fictional person at church.  Sister Odell went on a rant, making fun of “a 34 year old with the mind of a 3 year old”.  He goes on to make fun of this fictional character for “blowing bubbles in church” and wanting to wear a cheerleading outfit on Easter.  Although the character is a work of fiction, the mean-spiritedness is not.

His bit led one woman to post this on YouTube:

I went to Steve Harvey’s Facebook page to see if he had even acknowledged his insensitivity.

Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 6.12.03 PM

That has got to be the most half-assed apology ever.

“my intent was not directed at any other real person. And most certainly was not directed at any one you know.”  Really, Steve?  You’re right.  It wasn’t. It was directed at EVERY SINGLE PERSON WHO MAY BE INTELLECTUALLY CHALLENGED!  So guess what Steve?  Yes, it was directed at many people I know.

“The problem with comedy is ALL subjects can offend someone.”  True.  I can’t argue with that.  I would hope though that Steve could see why attacking the intellectually challenged might be little more offensive than attacking someone who is Italian.  Middle school aged kids get it, Steve.

What might be even harder to take however, are the comments on Harvey’s post:

Omg..someone cant handle..comedy? Smh

This is ridiculous! They say they don’t want to be treated differently and regular ppl get dog walked daily… That’s equality! This woman in the video is butt hurt over her own misconceptions about disabilities n a real drama queen. If u let every little thing bother you, your life will be a living hell!

Comedians have been doing this for years. If they stop for one group then they have to stop for another and so on and so on. People need to stop being so sensitive. If it’s not about you, then it’s not about you..

 I cant believe anyone is offended, really wow. Its all in fun!!!!

People get over it. If your that sheltered & don’t realize Sister Odell is a fictional character then so be it. Stop taking every damn thing ti heart. Steve don’t apologize for this.

You mean to tell me someone could really take the time to sit and complain about something that has no affect on their life

Love the show. Keep it coming. Really ppl. Steve keep up the good work. Obviously this person is having a bad day

All adults.  All willfully ignorant.  Perhaps they need to go back to middle school, because the kids at Brooke’s school get it.

There’s nothing wrong with teasing. There’s nothing wrong with having a little fun at the expense of others. BUT here’s the thing, those you make fun of, should be able to give it right back to you.  I want to assume that Steve Harvey’s skit was born out of ignorance, because you can fix ignorance with education.  Unfortunately, his apology make me think that he is just another Asshat.

I’m glad that Brooke will grow up in a world where her schoolmates will have a say in how all challenged people are treated.  Those kids are the promise of tomorrow.

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I Wonder…

I sit here in my office tonight watching Brooke run back and forth on the runner, simultaneously running through every one of her scripts.

Both Jess and Katie are out tonight. I ask Brooke if there is anything she wants to do.

Would you like to watch a movie?

I don’t know.

Would you like to play a game?

I don’t know.

Would you like me to read you a story?

I don’t know.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, Brooke sometimes uses I don’t know as a polite way to say No.

And so we script and script and script.

After a while she takes a break to watch some of her favorite YouTube videos.

And I wonder.

***

I try to eat fairly well – lots of veggies, meat, full fat dairy, maybe less starchy food than I used to.

I don’t run nearly as much as I used to.  Truth is, the last year has seen very little running; but I do try to stay active – I kind of have to considering the business I am in.  No one wants to hire an out of shape trainer. 

Bottom line is I’m taking pretty good care of myself.

Why? 

As parents, we talk about wanting to see our children graduate from High School, then College.  We look forward to celebrating our child’s wedding to whomever they choose.  We anticipate a day when we will relive the miracle of parenthood by becoming grandparents.  Our child’s first adult job? His or her first promotion? The first apartment? The purchase of a home? All of these things we see years, decades before they actually happen.  

As parents, we are hopefully doing what we can to be there for those things.  A balanced diet and regular exercise, along with quality sleep, are our tools for getting there to be there.

But I wonder.

***

This morning, on our way to school, Brooke told me that she hopes to get married some day. 

You do?

She then went into a script about marrying someone you love but that isn’t your family!

And I wondered.

This afternoon I stumbled on to Brooke’s report card for this past term.  She is getting A’s,  B’s and C’s, but I’m not sure what that means in a sub-separate class.  

And I wondered.

This evening, as she runs back and forth on the runner, squealing and scripting, there is a part of me that wonders…

Will there be a high school graduation?

Will college even be an option?

What happens when she turns 22?

Will she be able to handle a steady job?

Will she be able to live independently?

Will she be able to pursue her dreams?

Love? Marriage? Motherhood? Are they in the cards she has been dealt?

I know things change over the course of time. Brooke has come a long, long way over the course 8 years.  A lot can happen over the next 6.

But right now, today, I know I can’t afford to not take care of myself…at least not for the foreseeable future.

I originally started to write this post as a call to arms to get those of you who might not be carving out the time to eat a little better and move a little better to do so.  I do think it’s important.  If we let ourselves go to pieces, who will take care of our little ones?  

But writing this evening has led me down a weird path.  Jess likes to call it the Rabbit Hole, where one thought leads to another and you end up overthinking things and getting lost.

Have I been staying healthy for things that may not come? Do I need to double down on staying healthy because those thing may never come?

Perhaps right now, I just need to put down my  mobile device, climb out of the rabbit hole and go snuggle with Brooke.

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