I don’t mean to offend you, but… | MyCareSpace

I don’t mean to offend you, but…

child holding brown teddy bear

I don’t mean to offend you, but…

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Those 7 words and all that you had spoken before and after hung thick in the air around us, but perhaps only I was aware of their density. The spoken air left your mouth and thickly choked itself into my soul. Words that you can turn away from. A caveat intended to relinquish your conscience of everything else that had been said. But those words had already clawed into me.

I don’t mean to offend you, but…

I could no longer withhold their physical manifestation in me… My heart raced and my cheeks flushed hot with anger and shock. I could feel the shaking of my hands as my stomach churned and my body prickled with goosebumps from the cold rush of sweat.

I don’t mean to offend you, but…

Those words will stay with me for hours, days… probably always. I have heard them and they can never be taken away from me. They are the words that have had me crying in a public bathroom, spitefully picking a fight with my confused husband and consumed with an inner tempest of thought.

What is it that you see? A disabled boy who can’t walk or talk?

I’ll tell you what I see…

I see a boy who can kick a ball, shoot a hoop and ride a bike.

I hear a boy who shouts, giggles, signs and communicates with words that are all his.

I see a young boy who is funny, caring, cheeky and smart. A boy who is boisterous and physical, but empathetic and kind.

I see a boy with a determination and strength unmatched by his peers. A boy who fought against a ventilator to breathe on his own. A boy who has endured uncountable scans, anaesthetics, stitches, casts, plates, tests, injections and tubes that would bring a grown man to his knees.

But above all of that, I see my son. Perhaps you forgot.

Your words have consumed me, but slowly they are losing their foothold as I begin to see and understand your motivation. Clouded by your fear, all you can see is a wheelchair and a challenge too great to allow your head to give him a chance and your heart to remember that I am his mum.

But I will remember that your words do not represent the thoughts of us all. I will remember that we see a boy who is showing a community what it means for us all to have a place. For all our lives to have meaning and purpose. A boy with a school who want him, friends who choose him and a family who love him.

We will give him a chance and, when you are ready to let go of your fear, we believe you will too.

Michaela leaning over and kissing her son

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