Last night I had dinner out (yeah me, no kids!) with a very good friend of mine. We talked about how incensed I was over Ann Coulter’s remarks. It was obvious from the amount of Facebook posts I had done over the past 24 hours that I was more than a little irritated.
My friend was appalled, even though she tends to be a Coulter fan. She told me she never would have thought anything of the remark, had she not known and loved Boo. I explained how distressing it was that some day I would have to talk with my older daughter to explain that her sister is not retarded and what the difference betweent that horrid word and intellectual disability actually mean. My friend completely agreed that Ann Coulter was completely out of line and out of control with her repeated insults.
I expressed my fear that one day her sister would look at Boo and not see beautiful. My friend listened and agreed. As we were leaving she said something inconsequential and we laughed. Then she said, I cannot believe I could be so retarded.
My heart dropped.
Her expression got a deer in the headlights look. Her mouth dropped open and she said:
I never realized how often I might use that word and not even realize it.
Words have power.
On the Love That Max page yesterday some one commented that all the outraged parents were crybabies. I replied, no we are advocates. Until you know a child like Boo, until you are confronted with the fears, tears, joy and laughter you have no idea how powerful the word can be.
So I encourage all of us to have an open dialogue with our friends and family. Those, who unlike Ann Coulter, matter to us. They might not know they are breaking your heart.
Until you tell them.
It is absolutely amazing how many smart thoughtful people use that word (in addition to the thoughtless nut jobs like Ann Coulter). It is so hard to know what to say when it happens (my daughter is undiagnosed too btw).
Amazing how many children are undiagnosed, isn't it? I never in a million years thought that there would be something in a child a physician could not diagnose. It helps to know we are not alone!
It's hard to know what to say sometimes, I think, when confronted with the word. I've tried to make a lighthearted/casual reminder about it. I don't want to make the conversation awkward, but I don't want to let it slide either, you know? I do know though, that speaking up makes a difference. I have a FB friend who has told me she has worked to eliminate the R word from her vocabulary after reading some of the articles I've posted about it, like the one that Ellen wrote.