Today, I missed out on an opportunity to teach someone about the hurtfulness of the “R word”. I feel like I let down my son for not saying something when this person said it. I was nervous. I didn’t want to be seen as too sensitive. I didn’t want to make that person feel uncomfortable. Instead, I saw the pain in my husband’s eyes and sat silently in my own awkwardness. I hope one day to know exactly the words to say when someone uses that word around me and more importantly, around my children. I know eventually I will be more comfortable being an advocate. Right now, I just feel like I’ve failed to stick up for Eli.
Please, please, please don’t use the word retard or retarded. Erase them from your vocabulary. You don’t know who you could be hurting each time you say one of those words. This was not the first time someone said it right in front of us, in front of Eli. I explain it away by concluding that they must not see Eli for his disabilities. But that doesn’t matter. The words pierce my heart, and one day it might hurt his. Take the time and sign a pledge not to use hurtful language. Spread the word to end the word! Be kind. Be respectful. Be thoughtful. Please, do it for Eli. Do it for Cody. Do it for all God’s children.