Life is full of joys watching my boys run around playing, wrestling like puppies, swinging on the swings and playing at the park. For two years Emmett was to medically fragile, he was unable to partake in these everyday activities. Today he is growing and exploring life just like a 3 year old should.
My topic for today's post is to not to discourage but encourage and bring awareness to what might be a subconscious action that people are unaware that they do.
I know many parent's are in a similar situation, having a child with special/medical needs, understand my thoughts and concerns. I recognize that people are curious and curiosity is part of human nature, however a single word or expression can leave a lasting mark on a child for good or bad.
Two weeks ago, I was brushing Ethan and Emmett's teeth. Ethan says, " Mom, how come my friends brothers don't have anything wrong with them like Emmett does?" Shocked by his question I replied, "Ethan, Emmett doesn't have anything wrong with him. Just because he has a G-tube and a Trach doesn't mean anything is wrong. It is just who he is".
I started thinking back, where did this question of Emmett having something wrong, come from... Feelings of a little bit of anger and hurt overwhelmed me as I remembered just the day before while we were at the grocery store, a lady asked me(in reference to Emmett),"what is wrong with him?" pointing to his Trach. Unfortunately, this lady's unfiltered comment is not rare, I am asked this question on a regular basis. These comments sting inside when I hear"whats wrong" in reference to by son. I come to conclusions that I am a big girl, I can let ignorant comments roll off. Now that my 5 year old is picking up on comments and how the world views his little brother. I feel like I need to shout, "Please think twice before speaking out"!!!
Emmett is only 3 years old, but soon he too will start to discover and question the meaning behind people's comments as they stare and look at him differently. My heart aches to think of him hearing and understand when someone is pointing to him and says, "what is wrong with him". In our family, we don't look at Emmett differently, he just has different hurdles to jump.
Ethan had an event our family attended. Another boy, older than Ethan, came up and stood behind Emmett. My two boys where laughing and giggling about who know's what. The little boy asked, "what did he say?" (referencing Emmett). Emmett repeated his statement. The boy again said, "What did you say?" Emmett again repeated his silly statement. The third time the boy said, "What did you say?" Emmett turned to face the young man and repeated the comment. The little boy then said, "I can't understand you, you talk weird". Grrrr! Emmett has two paralyzed vocal cords, it is a miracle that Emmett has a voice at all, even though it is quiet and raspy. To add to the dynamic's of this situation, the mother of this little boy was sitting right next to him and she did absolutely nothing about it.
I share this situation for an important reason: Take the time to please speak to your children about being kind and accepting of other children who might be different!
View the add below! It speaks loudly!
Matthew 7: 12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them...
I have to share how many kind people approach Emmett or parent's have used their child's comment as a teaching experience.
A lady in line behind us at another store was smiling at Emmett. She looked at me and smiled and I smiled back. She then said, "what a tough little guy, what does he have the Trach for?" This comment to me is wonderful, she was curious but kind and genuinely wanted to know. I have even had people ask "what is his diagnosis" or "was he born needing the Trach or did it come later?" All terrific questions and I welcome the fact that people want to educated themselves and are concerned for by son. The neat thing about these questions is it 100% of the time opens the door for me to be able to share my button battery awareness speel and I am grateful for this opportunity!
Please take a moment and talk with your family about how one's actions and words can leave a permanent mark. Educate them about people who have special needs, that they are children of God too and need to be loved, befriended and treated kindly.
Asking questions is okay, it is actually preferred over just starring, but just take a minute and think about how to ask the question before asking it!
I love it when little kiddos come up and point to Emmett's Trach and say, "What is that?". I reply, " you know how you breath through your nose and mouth? Emmett breaths though this tube, it is called a Trach. Isn't that awesome!" To which the kids shake their heads and reply, "oh yeah!"
Emmett is my hero! I love my boys and I am so humbled to be their mother.
Help make a difference!
Go Emmett, Go!