Monday, April 20, 2009

Sticks and stones and a fathers love.

I have struggled since last night with how to say what I want to say in this blog entry and have decided to just say it. I must say that it is not at all my intention to offend or hurt anyone.
Last night my husband, my daughter and I stopped at a local restaurant to have dinner while out and about shopping.
Upon entering the restaurant there was a beautiful little blond haired, blue eyed girl with a fabulous ribbon in her hair. She let me know that she was four years old and that it was her birthday. I told her happy birthday and looked at my own four year old who cannot speak or communicate and tried my best to smile and turn my focus to her and her smiling face.
While we were enjoying our dinner my own beautiful, blond haired blue eyed girl did her best to tease me. She ignored me and all eyes and flirting were for Daddy only. She was having a great time messing with Mommy.
It became apparent during dinner that this family was just behind us and one table over. I had my back to them but my husband did not. The little girl informed the waiter that it was her birthday and he disappeared around the corner. Before too long the entire wait staff came screaming around the corner. Hooting and hollering and singing as loud as they could to this gorgeous little princess who was now standing in her chair basking in the glory of her day. As they do at this restaurant they called attention to her and made a large fuss while they sang. I at this point was comforting my own daughter who had gone into tremors from being startled and scared and holding on to me for dear life while assuring her everything was ok.
The little girl with all eyes on her then was asked to tell her 2 favorite jokes. Her first one went off without a hitch.....Why did the chicken cross the road? It was very cute. She then told the old "What? Chicken Butt!" joke except she said chicken bucket. I giggled. Then I heard someone at the table ask why she said chicken bucket. Then as clear as day I heard a female giggle and say,
"Because she's retarded"
Ok now the room is spinning. I am attempting to sign the check and breath at the same time. My husband is telling me the tip amount and I am thinking I may pass out. I start to dig in my purse and realize I am out of the cards that I hand out to the curious and the ignorant and curse myself for not asking my friend to reorder. I am also at this point not wanting to ruin the little girls birthday.
I managed to stand and leave the restaurant as fast as I could leaving my husband and daughter inside. By the time I got in my van I was sobbing and hyperventilating. How dare they? I screamed at my husband. I could barely breath. Then I saw him turn and walk back into the restaurant. A card in his hand. I just sat there hoping he didn't ruin that girls birthday or get his butt kicked.
My husband,whom I complain about quite frequently I must admit, very calmly went back into the restaurant and asked to speak to the male seated next to the woman who said the word. He and a male across from him both stood up and walked with my husband. They instantly knew as soon as my husband handed them the card and told them how they should really pay attention to the kind of language thrown around at their table. They didn't ask for forgiveness or even apologize. The seemed confused because,"Nobody meant anything by it."
Wow. My husband told them how fortunate they were that they had such a beautiful girl who could stand in her chair and tell jokes because his daughter probably never will and that his wife was in his car sobbing because they used this word they way they did with this perfect child. Then he turned around and came back outside.
I was amazed and so proud of him I cannot even explain it. When it comes to our daughter we never ever use that term. Yes she is delayed. Because of her Rett Syndrome her growth has been retarded. Her ability to function on a normal or typical level has been retarded, impeded,delayed. She is delayed mentally and physically. But only in the way she is limited in her functioning. She cannot speak, use her hands ,sign or walk independently. She has a feeding tube and has difficulty breathing and swallowing. BUT, She is in no way shape or form RETARDED in the slang form people have started to use this in.
The very reason society has banned this word in the medical and social community is because people use it to describe silliness or stupidity. An idiot or a moron. My daughter in not stupid and neither was this little girl.
When you walk into a place of business or anyplace for that matter and it says NO PROFANITY on the door this word should be on the top of the list. It is absolutely the most offensive thing I can think of. And I had to say it. It is my hope that this family passes on this story every time they hear the word again.
I thought this would be a good opportunity to provide a link to this video of a speech by a young man with a sister he loves very very much. It touches my heart every time I see it. You can see it by clicking here:
Peace and love


Caitlyn said...

I am in tears Terri. I am so sorry you had to go through this. All we can do is continue to educate those around us. Kudos to your husband for calmly stepping up to the plate.

Karlie Grace said...

Yep, tears for me as well. I truly hope the two men relayed the message and the card effects the others as well. Way to go George!

The MacDonald Family said...

I'll bet you won't be eating out for a long time after that. It's heartbreaking the words that come out of people's mouths. I would have been sobbing too. Awesome that your husband spoke up!

SeairaLaNae said...

Tears are right! I'm so proud of George! I'm also proud of you Terri, you held yourself together very well! I would reacted and felt the same way!

Melicamay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Melicamay said...

Wow I am in floods here! Well done for keeping your cool and walking out, and a huge well done to your amazing husband!
Try and remember that Abby herself doesn't care about that word! She is happy, loved and loving! It is people like that sill ywoman and her male companions that are to be pittied. To never know an Angel is a loss.
Abby is stunning and she sings daily with her gorgeous eyes!
Hugs xxx