Driving home from karate today, I was waiting at a four way stop. In our neighborhood, everyone takes their turn. The four way stops are a Cleveland miracle. People are so polite. It's heaven. And orderly. And efficient.
So I'm two cars back, waiting my turn, knowing it will come, and the guy in front of me pulls out. It was his turn. And a woman, blows through the stop sign, and almost hits him. She barely even stopped at all. And then, she turns and flips off the guy she almost hit, and gives him the dirtiest look, and I said out loud,
"You, are an idiot."
Now I know you don't like that word Carrie, but could you give me a substitute? I would never in a million years think of your sweet son, or anyone with Down Syndrome, etc. as stupid, or idiotic, (quite the contrary) but I do think there are people out there, not mentally handicapped (is handicapped the wrong word?) who fit those terms.
So anyway, after witnessing the close call, I took my turn and as I was on my merry way, I heard Riley sobbing in the back seat. I reached back and patted her leg, and asked,
"Sweetie, what's the matter?"
Seth piped in, "She thinks you called her an idiot."
She had been talking when I said it, and I got lost in the transaction taking place, and forgot.
"Riley, never, ever, EVER, ever, ever, would I ever insult you. EVER. You got that? NEVER."
I explained what had just happened, and apologized for using a not nice word, but assured her it was NOT in reference to her.
"Okay," she whimpered.
And it just breaks my heart, because how could she possibly think I would ever say anything hurtful about her? How could I have given this child everything I have for so long, only to have her doubt me like this? I have never insulted her. I have never even cussed in front of her(yes, I want a fucking metal).
I have done everything I possibly can to nurture her, to protect her heart, and my beautiful daughter, whom I love to the depths of my soul, thinks it quite possible I might at any given moment, call her an idiot.
I know I shouldn't take it personally. I know this is the autism. The black/white thinking.
It hurts though.
And I think there is some lesson in this, that when we hurt one, we hurt all. When we insult one, we harm the whole.
I'm not quite in a place where I can fully hear it, but I'm willing to consider the possibility.