Sticks and stones…

I witnessed Danny being made fun of for the first time yesterday. I don’t even know if “made fun of” is really the right term for it. He was called a name.

Blindy.

Sounds harsh, right? It really wasn’t such a big deal at the time. The name caller was my sister’s 7 year old stepson. He’s got older brothers that aren’t the best influences and doesn’t get to spend much time with our families. But still.

I don’t really even think he was meaning to call Danny a name. Maybe more like a nickname or something… It really didn’t seem mean-spirited. He just walked in and said, “Hey, Blindy.” In fact, he was so nonchalant about it that it took me a few beats for his words to sink in. His father had already reprimanded him by that time. But still.

Danny, being true to form, took it all in stride and asked to be taken to the kitchen. On the way he ran on in his own third-person commentary saying, “…He can’t see. You know, his eyes are broken.” But still.

Even though it wasn’t a big issue then, it feels like a big issue now. Another child took a poke at Danny’s most vulnerable spot with no thought and absolutely no consideration for his feelings.

He’s only three. What will it be like when he’s 7… or 10, or 15? Will those unthinking words from his unenlightened peers continue to roll off Danny’s back like so many water droplets? Or will he bear the scabs and scars inside where the world cannot see?

Of course, he will be carrying a big stick (cane)… perhaps others should learn to speak softly…

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2 Responses

  1. Funny thing…my husbands biggest fear is Wyatt being made fun of. Well ironically right after Wyatt was born but before we were aware that he had norries or was going to be completely blind (we were lead to beleive he would see out of one eye), we made reservations at the carousel in ocean city maryland…we live a few hours away. Funny thing,,,we happened on a blind people convention…for real…unfreakin believable. Of course we were saying things like wow aren’t we lucky Wyatt can see out of one eye. And we thought we had it bad with wyatt losing sight in one eye..yadayadayaday….But one thing I gained from that weekend is that I have to realize that Wyatt is going to have people stare at him. I know this because I am a very conciencous person and raised to be polite, but I found myself not being able to help staring. In my mind I’m thinking hey they can’t see me anyway. The eye color, the way they motioned their head back and forth (yeah now I know it is so they can find out where a sound is coming from), the way the heald their phone right up to their eyes. I also was mislead in my thoughts that these people were also mentally challenged because of some of what I now know is a “blindism” the rocking back and forth, the swaying head, rolling their eyes up to the sky…etc.etc. Guess what…how dumb am I. But that is exactly my point. The people who at times will make fun are those people that are just simply ignorant. One of my goals raising a blind child is to teach him to hold his head up, not rock in public, look at the sound of someone’s voice when they are speaking, and anything else I can to make him feel as “normal” as possible, because since I started this journey..every blind person I speak to in every age range wants one thing….to be like everyone else. They have the same passions, curiousities, interests. I will teach Wyatt about the ignorant people and hope that he has a little oil on his exterior like DAnny. And by the way, I love the third person conversations…I’m thinking I see musical comedian in the future of Danny. lol.

  2. Isn’t life funny? When I thought Danny had cataracts or glaucoma Dr. Google told me he’d need to wear patches on his eyes for up to 11 (I think) years. I thought about how cruel kids could be and couldn’t imagine anything worse. Heh. After he was diagnosed I looked back on patches with longing. Of course, nearly 6 years later I think we’ve gotten the longer end of the stick.

    By and large I’ve found there are two types of people in this world. Those that accept Danny and those that don’t. I’ve learned to tell the difference right away. My older son has some friends that come over that won’t even talk to Danny. They don’t acknowledge his existence. They don’t answer him when he asks them a direct question. I have to force them to reply. Sadly, many adults fall into this category also. Thankfully, they are the exception not the rule. By and large friends and strangers alike are open to him. Strangers are usually overly solicitous at first. But Danny charms them immediately. If anyone spends any amount of time with him they realize that he’s about as normal as you can get. And crazy smart. Old beyond his years. Patronization doesn’t last long… 😉

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