I’m envious of super close families. I mean really envious. I look at them and I think about how I never have had any of that. I don’t have a favourite aunt or uncle because at some point and time they’ve stopped caring about us. My uncle forgot my birthday on my parents 25th anniversary because “other things were more important” – to be perfectly honest I’m surprised my aunt even knows where I go to school. I’m jealous of families that have family reunions and barbeques for holidays or big birthday parties because someone is turning a special number. My birthday gift this year from my parents was a case for my retainer and pizza. I haven’t had a party thrown by my parents since I was 10.
My family has moments when they shine though. My brother always makes sure I know I am wanted in our family – when my mom is a little off I lately seem to be the victim of harsh words. My dad and me have a bond that makes me wish I could spend more time with him and at the same time makes me worry about losing him. My mom and me are a story that is never really sure what’s going on. Half the time she’s my best friend and half the time she’s my worst enemy.
My parents never said they were proud of me for getting into university but instead lectured me on the costs. When I got a full time job at a camp they warned me of the long hours and little pay I would be getting and tried to steer me into a position working for a hydro company (thank god I was rejected from that job). I have been elected president of a club with a joke about a congratulatory dinner that never happened, and when I was elected to be part of my student association my mom didn’t even remember me calling her because she was off her medication. I’d like a bit more praise from people for things that I do. Yesterday it wasn’t “oh you’re going to a conference to speak -that’s amazing!” it was “oh well what time will you be home”. I am having a hard time remembering as I write this the last time my mom hugged me or told me she loved me. It’s sometime in the last month or so I know that.
I was too scared to tell my mom anything as a teenager though because it became a weapon in fights against me. Memories of my mom include a roadtrip that ended in threats with her slamming the car into an eighteen wheeler (this is before all the diagnoses) and the constant reminder that it’s her house and she can kick me out whenever she damn well feels like it. I’m scared I’m going to lose my mom at a time when I’m mad at her, and I won’t be able to forgive myself.
I guess what I’m getting at here is I’m a kid who has had no other idea but to question how much my family cares about me. That hurts a lot when everyone tells you family will love you more than anything else in the world. If your a parent do everything in your power to make sure your kid knows how amazing they are so at 20 they’re not still guessing on whether or not they’re doing it right.
I actually shutter a bit when I hear it. Of course no one is meaning it towards my niece, and of course once I explain to my friends that it bugs me they cautiously watch their tongues. I have friends who have wiped it from their vocabulary, and I appreciate that. But for those who don’t I try to have a little understanding.
Please don’t jump down my throat for saying that. I know the word is ignorant. I know it’s wrong that they’re using it regardless in the way “they meant it”, but how many of us used the R word before a loved one was diagnosed with a disability? I’m guilty. I know many of us are guilty. It’s not so funny anymore, and hell I bet a lot of us look back and feel ashamed that we used it that often. As much as I want to yell at someone for telling me “That’s retarded” I take a deep breath and remember society has taught people this is a synonym for stupid.
And of course, I don’t feel that way. I don’t think we should use that word to describe anything or anyone. I used to get infuriated when people said it right after my niece was diagnosed with down syndrome. “How can you use that word?!”, but what a hypocrite I was being because weeks before it was part of my regular vocabulary too. This is why I try to have understanding when I hear it. I take a few breathes, and I try to let it slide the first time. The second time I tell people it’s ignorant to use the word. The third time I give them reasons why I hate hearing it. People honestly sometimes have no idea that the word effects people as much as it does.
The only way we’ll erase the word is if we start informing people and persuading them that it’s offensive. Getting angry at them, telling them they’re a “fucking idiot” is ineffective …yes from experience. Instead the best thing we can do is share stories of how it hurts us to hear it so people understand that there is a reason behind why it’s a hurtful word. We need to explain to people in ways that they feel connected to what we are saying. Otherwise we may as well be speaking to a brick wall because people aren’t going to hear it. I know its upsetting that we have to persuade people to not use a hurtful word but how else can it be done effectively? Isn’t it worth it to have someone stop using it all the time instead of just around you?
I’m always going to advocate against the word in hopes that it makes up for the 19 years of life I thought it was okay to say it. I’m going to regret that I used the word to describe someone being an idiot, or that I thought it was funny. It’s none of these things and I apologize to everyone that I may offended over the years using it. To new moms, to veteran mothers, and to aunts and uncles just like myself to children with special needs. If you’re reading this as someone who uses the word just stop using it okay? Call it as you see it- don’t come up with another word that’s been implanted in your brain.
Recently I’ve been thinking of babies.
Before we all hit a point of no return delusions let me clarify right now that I’m not having a baby anytime soon. I’ve got another year of school to finish, a job to find, a car to buy, a house to get, and a lot of debt to cut down before I even consider having a baby. But I’ve been wondering how my life could be different if I decided to have a baby some point soon. My drive to work is almost 40 minutes and everyday I find myself reflecting on the future. Today was babies.
The first thing I think about is who the dad would be. Obviously, my future husband but who would that be? If I had to chose out of my guy friends there’s three or four who I could see being great dads. Is that a quality I look for in dating now that I’m 20? Do I look for more than someone to cuddle up to and start looking for someone for my future? I decided that the dad of my future child is going to want the baby as badly as I do. If he’s not ready to have a baby when I am, okay. Then we need to wait. A child deserves the love a parent is able to give them. Hell, look at my dad. He’s the prime example of how waiting can make you a much better father than everyone expected you to be. He was37 when my brother was born and 40 when I was born. He was no longer an alcoholic, he was finally manager of a plant.
I then get thinking about names. Do you know how many people I have met that have ruined a name for me? I also consider things like “cute” names that your child will never grow into. Tiffany is one of those names for me. Tiffany is a little girl with pigtails or a 16 year old teenager singing how she thinks we’re alone now…it’s not a woman fully supporting herself in my head. If you’re a Tiffany, I apologize for this one. There are also names that can be shorten that I just can’t stand. Robbie and Bobby are two fine examples. My dad has a cousin who’s a lawyer who goes by Bobby and my dad says he thinks of it as a little kid name. The middle names for my children are already picked out in my head. Louise for a girl (my middle name) and Donald for a boy (my dad’s name). But if it doesn’t flow with a name my husband likes then what?
Clearly I have an over active brain when I’m driving when I’m focusing about things like babies on my drive. I imagine how I’d react to finding out things about my baby – like their bout with chicken pox or they learned how to say “da da” first. I imagine how proud I am to see them painting in my living room (I’ll write about my house visions one day…I’m delusional) and hanging them up on the fridge. I imagined my mother’s day cards hand made in a pre-school. Macaroni Christmas decorations. Under cooked birthday cakes.
But somewhere between when I turn on the last road and when I arrive at work I begin to wonder what if I can’t have kids? Would I be willing to opening my heart to the idea of adoption? I could love a baby that isn’t mine biologically I know that. But the adoption process can be long and there can be many hurdles and disappointments a long the way. Plus, would I be able to afford the cost?
Don’t mind my rambling, it’s just a case of an overactive brain and the happiness I get when I think of things to do with my niece. I wonder if anyone else ever has these moments when thoughts that aren’t in their plans for years just overflow their head.
Treasure every inch of their skin.
Count every freckle, and notice every detail.
Remember every tone of their voice.
The tired voice in the morning.
The happy voice when they see you.
The angry voice when they can’t take much more.
The satisfied voice after a hot and heavy round.
They’re all amazing parts of that person.
Remember the shape of their eyes in case you don’t get to see them for awhile.
What their lips feel like loosely laid upon your forehead
or tightly on your lips.
Remember how your hands feel intertwined, or how you hug each other.
Remember their scent.
The smell that is them and them alone.
The one a perfume or cologne company can come close to matching but it isn’t quite theirs.
Reflect on memories.
Memories that caused you to laugh until you thought you’d puke.
Moments where a smile snuck out and they asked you “what’s that for?”
The memories of firsts.
First handholds, hugs, kisses, tickles, playfights.
Memories that you believe no one else in the world has but you two.
Memories that may not make the next box office romcom
But it sure as hell was perfect to you.
Don’t dwell on the things you don’t have.
Don’t dwell that you can’t see them for a while.
Don’t dwell on the fact you’re apart when you’re at school
Or home from school for that matter.
Don’t dwell on the fact that their not there to cuddle you tonight.
Be glad you’re missed.
Be glad someone remembers to text you in the morning.
Be glad they’re thinking of you too.
Because there are some of us who don’t have that.
Sure, we have all these memories as bits and pieces of pain that make long nights longer.
That make us question “what ifs” or “what did or didn’t I do”.
Some of us have nothing but memories.
Some of us have someone missing.
Some of may never get that someone.
Some of us may had that someone slip away
and that fucking hurts more than missing someone you love.