This post is brought to you by a particularly nasty comment on my last post, written by someone who thinks they’re anonymous. It never made it to the light of day because I promptly trashed it.
Shaken and upset, I showed my husband the texts. I watched as he silently read, as his face settled into the resolute lines I could already feel on my own face. He finished reading and looked up at me. “Our kids will never ever see them again.” I nodded. “I agree.”
I didn’t know what else to say. How could someone that I thought loved me – someone I’ve known all my life – say such horrible things? Is that what family does to each other?
This holiday, we’re not volunteering anywhere. We’re not donating a turkey. We’re not picking a name off an Angel Tree, dropping off Toys for Tots, or claiming a foster kid name and making their Christmas wish come true. We’re not doing any of what we normally do.
In fact, we’re barely celebrating the holidays at all. Our tree is pitifully short and thin, and we’re not putting out any Christmas lights. No beautifully decorated house full of holiday joy for us.
I’m trying really hard to not feel guilty. Because this is not who I am.
I read a post from a friend today and something clicked – the missing pieces from my last post on how inclusion is inconvenient. Rather than try to edit or add to that one, I decided to simply write another.
No perfect fit
No one place or class can be universally accessible. This idea is something I’ve struggled with for a long time as a parent of children with Sensory Processing Disorder (or Sensory Integration Disorder, they’re used interchangeably.) Obviously that’s what people strive for, and in some cases are legally bound to provide. Clearly, people with all different needs deserve to have those needs met, right? So why would I say that it’s impossible to meet all those needs – in the same space?
Because their needs conflict with each other.
Dear people, I have a message for you: inclusion is inconvenient.
In fact, inclusion can be frustrating, expensive, annoying, disagreeable, and come at great personal cost. After all, it is hardly your fault that these individuals should be unable to participate like every one else, right? It even seems unfair, to expend effort on a few individuals at the expense of the rest of the group? I can’t count the times I’ve heard “but it’s not fair to the other kids” when asking for accommodations.
Here’s the thing: inclusion means looking above your assumptions of fair and normal. It means actively trying to smooth the way to make things go as easily for these individuals as it does for their average counterparts. It means evaluating what you view as normal and seeing how it’s really not normal for everyone.
Apparently I suck at juggling because I’m always dropping the ball. Here too. Today, I realized it’s been way too long since I posted last, and I feel guilty about that.
At the same time, I’m tired. I’m hurting. And I’m struggling. Something had to give, and this time, it was the blog.
Sometimes self-care means prioritizing the things that are the most critical and focusing on those just so that you can survive. Our family has been in survival mode for far too long and frankly, I’m tired of it.