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Lord help me

April 16, 2007

I am a horrible person. A truly horrible, horrible person. What’s worst is that I thought I was better than this…

When I picked Alissa up from daycare this afternoon, I was introduced to the new baby in the class. I like to know all the kids’ names, even if I couldn’t tell you what their parents names were to save my life. When the teacher turned him around to greet me, I couldn’t help but notice that he has a horrible facial disfigurement and my thought process went like this:

Oh my god, that poor kid. I wonder if the doctors can fix him.

Don’t stare.

I am so glad that I didn’t have to deal with Alissa having anything wrong with her.

Don’t stare.

Poor kid is going to have a rough life.

I can’t believe I’m thinking these things. I am supposed to be a good role model for my daughter and teach her to be accepting of everyone she meets, no matter how they are different from her. Poor Alissa has a person like me for a mother. God I’m an asshole.

I still can’t believe that I reacted that way. I am so ashamed. When his mom walked in behind me and greeted him with all the love in the world, I felt even worse. I didn’t expect anything different from her — a parent is going to love their child, and I shouldn’t have expected anything less of her. But I should have expected more of myself — I have always been an accepting and loving person and I have no idea where those feelings of horror and pity came from.

A few weeks ago, one of the other parents, whose child has down’s syndrome, brought in some information for the teachers (at their request) and I took a moment to read through it as well. One of the things in there was sort of a question and answer on what it is like to be the parent of a child with down’s syndrome and the analogy was perfect. In short, it went like this:

Parenthood is the exotic vacation that many couples dream to take, and Italy is
the preferred destination. But somehow, there is a mix-up with the ticketing and
some people end up in Holland. And while many people get caught up in pitying you that you missed out on Italy, you learn just to enjoy Holland, because, while it isn’t
Italy, it still holds its own beauties, and if you spend your whole vacation wishing you were in Italy, you will never know how amazing Holland is. Yes, you have to learn a new language and there is a little sadness that you never made it to Italy, but you got to take a trip, which is more than many can say.

It caused me to really reflect on the analogy and I really felt like it was the perfect way to describe the situation. It really helped me to resolve some of the feelings I had expressed to my ex when we talked about having kids years ago and still held in my heart even the moment Alissa was born. I love that her parents are so willing to help us all learn and understand the challenges they face on a daily basis, the easier it is for us to support them and their goals. I immediately took to that little girl from the first time I laid eyes on her. She’s just amazing and one of Alissa’s favorite little buddies to play with.

I am hoping that it won’t take long that I can feel that way towards our new addition and treat him with as much love as I treat the other kids. I am so grateful that Alissa is growing up with kids that are not “perfect” in the shallow and traditional sense, because it will teach her tolerance and acceptance. And hopefully, she will never have a moment like I did this afternoon.

My mom tells me that I can’t be all evil inside because the guilt is eating away at me so deeply, but I always thought that I was the kind of person that didn’t even have it in me to think such awful thoughts.

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