Our Little was born in February of 2004 and before her first birthday we had her diagnosis. During the four months we waited to have the MRI I admit I came up with a gazillion ideas of what could be wrong. As soon as we had the MRI results my mind began the now decade long pendulum swing between “she may never” and “we’ll show you”. Through it all, one fear has been ever-present . . . people are going to pick on her and take advantage of her.
It wasn’t a crazy concern. While she was still very young we sat and watched little boys at a church dinner imitate and mock her crossed eyes. Adults have always thought Little is precious but kids have questions and don’t understand her differences. Very few folks feel comfortable asking us for an explanation and so they don’t have answers to give their children and can’t raise them up in the way they should go when it comes to relating to children who are different. I have always been anxious about the day when everyone hit the age of meanness.
Apparently, we are there.
For the past week, Little has begged me every morning to let her stay home from school; there have been tears. This is completely out of the ordinary. I sent a note to her case manager and asked her to keep an eye out to see if anything was going on. I reminded Little that she had new friends at school and she loved being with them. She informed me that her friends didn’t love her any more. What??!!??
I got a call from Little’s teacher last night and she wanted to talk with me about a birthday invitation Little had received. She said there had been some “mean girl” activity at school but she had been handling it “in-house”. Now that this party was looming in the future, she felt I needed to know details so I could make an informed decision about Little attending – it’s a drop-off party and she was concerned and felt strongly that this girl “didn’t deserve Little as a friend.” Hmm.
Turns out the girl having the party has been “curious” about Little (whatever) and behaving badly as a result of this “curiosity”. The behavior included trying to get Little’s report card and show it to all the kids a couple of weeks ago. Another student stepped in and put an end to it. On another occasion, and this upsets me more than the first, this girl was telling Little ugly words to say and trying to get her to go around to specific classmates and say these words. Again, another student stepped in and put an end to the behavior. I would like to say that I will need some time before I ever meet the little birthday girl and pray I will have an opportunity to thank the student who stood up for our daughter.
I hung up with the teacher and just sobbed. It’s not so much that kids know Little’s “grades” – who really cares? And it isn’t that Little said things I would prefer her not say. It’s that the kid had her talking about sex and that gets to the heart of my fears. This world is a broken and ugly place and children grow up knowing/doing/excusing all kinds of garbage because our world says they should and can. As a parent it is my job to train my children to interact with this world while discerning how to live differently from the world. I am at a total loss for how to do this with a child who has limited ability to discern.
The Truth is that God is in His heaven and He loves my daughter more than I do – I must trust Him with her. It is easier to say than do. Realistically, parents say that about their children no matter their abilities but then the parents turn around and do all they can to equip their children to live rightly. We trust — we train. What does one do when the training is inhibited?
I’m hitting my knees, people. That’s right. I’m going to hit “publish” and I am going to go lay this before our Father. When you finish reading it would you do the same? Would you ask Him to build a hedge around our Little and protect her from the evil of this world? Would you ask Him to use her as a light in the darkness and a witness of His grace? Would you join with us in praying for miraculous measures of discernment for our little girl? And ask for wisdom for Honey and me. . . we are so very clueless when it comes to walking this road the Lord has laid out for us. We need Him every hour.