I love the power of the written word—stringing together letters that weave the fabric stories of my family.
Words can be beautiful when crafted by someone with a kind heart.
Words can soothe when spoken by a gentle soul.
But, words wielded by the ignorant can leave behind a painful mark.
Last week my daughter happily drew lines on a chalkboard in our doctor’s waiting room. The older woman sitting beside me asked how old my girl is.
When I told her she said, “Awfully small for three isn’t she?”
The response in my head was, “You’re awfully stupid for 60, aren’t you?”
What I actually said was, “Yup. She’s our little girl.”
As my daughter drew, she and I communicated using signs. The woman leaned over and asked, “Does she talk?”
I took a breath and then I explained that she has a speech delay, but is a proficient signer.
Without missing a beat this woman told me her sister worked at a school with kids more “far gone” than my child. Far gone? Are you kidding me? She went on about how important it is to catch “these kids” early if they’re going to have any chance at all.
I sat silent, wondering how much longer I was going to have to listen to this wisdom.
“So, would she be considered special needs then?” she continued.
I would have preferred to slap her but instead answered, “I guess, but we just think she’s special.”
I didn’t believe she intended to be hurtful, she was just simply ignorant. With that in mind, I was able to let it go. Mostly.
…Tactless fool. Ok, NOW I’ve let it go.