Saturday, June 18, 2011

Not Exactly Catholic: My Son Has a Super Power

You simply have to read this post by the Attack of the Redneck Mommy blogger. Her son has a super power: invisibility. He is disabled. His disability is visible, so he is unseen.

I want to drag into the glare of honest criticism as a mom of a special gift like my son a few points.

1- You can use any excuse to laugh or rail at the disabled. The more shallow of you use the fact that the child's looks or sounds or drools makes you exempt from being decent. The more subtle of you use the fact that mommy is an annoying Republican as your excuse. When you laugh at the Trig jokes, mothers like me hold our children a little closer. We are protecting them from the likes of you because we know how easy it is to delete the word "Republican" from your excuse and insert any other word--for me it might be "Catholic" or "blogger" or even just "annoying." Once you cross the line of decency, it's crossed. It isn't funny. Not even when the mommy is.

(You may want to brace yourself for this one, folks. It's a hard truth.)
2 - It has always been a capital crime in our societies to be disabled in some way. We used to expose our special children. Our more modern and enlightened evolutionary impulses insist we abort them before they are born. We who have given our special children a stay of execution for various reasons (for some, yes, it was a mere matter of timing) know, deep inside, that the world is appalled at us. Your laughter stirs a fear in us mothers that is directly related to this unacknowledged knowledge.

3 - My son is singing the Kyrie in this moment. In this very moment when I am very near tears at the heartlessness of the world toward him, he sings in Latin, "Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy." It is one of many reasons he is such an incredible gift to me and to you, ugly world. My son who will always struggle, who is the ultimate outsider, who is such a gift, he gives me hope for you and yours.

My Son Has a Super Power

My son has a superpower.

He is invisible.

Most disabled people are, you know

They are born with it, alongside twisted limbs or broken minds.

My son, he can’t walk, or talk, or eat

He can’t hear and he will never fly. But

He is invisible.

You may not have seen him. But he saw you

He smiled at you. A smile

Bright as a ray of light shining through a cracked window.

He looked at you.

Hoping you would see past the invisibility tattooed on his skin, cloaked around his wheelchair.

He stood beside his siblings

His cousin and he smiled. For you.

You didn’t see him.

Or you wouldn’t see him.

Was it the drool on the side of his mouth which
scared you off?

Was it the twisted way he held his hands?

Or the way his head flops slightly to the left?

He smiled still

As you overlooked him, tossing pieces of candy into the bags

Other children held out.

His bag, empty


He smiled still as his aunt explained why he sat at the bottom of your stairs.

“His legs don’t work.”

He smiled when you refused eye contact with him and handed a piece of candy to me to give to him.

Refusing to touch him.

Refusing to come out of your warm bright homes to see him.

My invisible monkey boy, he smiled for you.

I stood beside him, willing you to see him

Wanting my pride, my love for him to be a beacon for your eyes.

Wishing for your eyes to land on him and see his value.

To see him.

For him not to be invisible.

House after house

We tried.

Door after door, princesses, vampires, Spidermans
 they all wished they had super powers as they begged for treats

My boy,
he tricked them all.

He still smiled
even when you didn’t see him,
couldn’t see him,
wouldn’t see him.

Everybody should have a superpower.

Nobody should be invisible.

If I could pick a power

I’d use it to shine the light on every person with disabilities,

I’d make you see.

My son. He is NOT

I see you, kid.

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