Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Monday, May 4, 2015

My own log

To the Woman at Dairy Queen Yesterday Who Gave Me the Death Glare When Victor Screamed,

As I went to bed last night, I had a scathing blog post all written out in my head. I figured it was justified. I told myself that everyone would understand. I took into account all the similar Facebook posts and blogs I've read in the past. And there have been many, forwarded to me multiple times: 5 Things Not to Say to Mothers, 10 of the Worst Things to Say to Adoptive Families, 15 Sayings a Transracial Family Should Never Have to Hear, and 20 Things to Remember When Talking to the Mom of a Special Needs Child. Now I had my own. I was angry, I was bitter, and I was felt vindicated. I just needed some morning sun and time to sit at the computer.

But during my run this morning, I heard instead from the Voice of Truth (Running is not listed as one of Gary Thomas' pathways but I'm pretty sure it's one of mine. Maybe it's because I'm such a slow learner in both my running and prayer life.) who reminded me that while I'm spending so much time inwardly berating someone for judging me without understanding, I was doing the same thing to you.

So Ma'am, it is with my deepest apologies that I write you what I should have been willing to write last night:

To the Woman at Dairy Queen Yesterday Who Gave Me the Death Glare When Victor Screamed,

I am writing to apologize.

First of all, I would like to apologize for my son's actions. I am sorry that he screamed so loudly when you were sitting so close. Maybe we should have known better. I usually do stay home with him while the family enjoys these fun excursions. And to my credit, I did ask The Good Doctor to go through the drive-thru, but his experience with Victor in public is not as frequent as mine; he didn't know what was going to happen. But I should have known. Especially after a full day with a very short nap. Especially after I forgot to bring the bag with his supper to his sister's race. Especially since his cup was in that bag. Especially since we are in the middle of testing to find out why he has such an insatiable thirst and since there may be a medical reason why he refused that ice cream (I know, it's hard to believe that someone would refuse ice cream, believe me, I don't understand it, either) and instead demanded a cup of water. Especially when there was such a long line and it took forever (to a 2 year old's mind) for the requested water to arrive. Especially when I know that my blind two year old is prone to acting out by hitting, biting, banging his head, and yes, screaming, when he doesn't immediately get what he wants. I truly am sorry. I should have known and I should have been more considerate of the needs of those around me.

But more importantly, I would like to apologize for my thoughts toward you. When you looked at us like that, I was embarrassed and that made me angry. As I scooped him up to go sit outside on the curb, I was angry that you didn't realize that we're all fighting battles and that maybe my son's screaming went far deeper than my abilities as a parent. But today I realized that I was just as guilty for not remembering the same for you. At least you were honest and let me know what you were thinking. I may have hid my thoughts, thinking I was justified because I didn't speak them or show them (or maybe I did), but according to my Bible, my thoughts were the same as your actions. I have no way of knowing what was behind your condescension; did you have a bad day, too? Do you have a medical condition which affects your hearing? Maybe my son's screaming reminded you of something painful? Maybe you never had children and there is pain there? Whatever the reason, the fact remains that I have no idea what battles you are fighting and in my own embarrassment and feelings of unworthiness, I had no right to be angry at you. I'm sorry.

Yes, your actions allowed me to hammer another nail into my homemade sign which reads, "Unworthy," but that is my issue, not yours. That comes from my own pride and need to find value in the wrong places. That comes from allowing too many situations to pile up, each one justifying another nail, giving my sign permanent residence in my life. Instead, this morning, I realized that I need to switch out that sign for another. I hope that in the future, I can react with this sign boldly proclaiming, "I am a child of the King - and you are, too."

This is a broken world. I am broken and you are, too. I can't be angry at you for not understanding my family. I can only change myself. I only hope that I can be one who is willing to be uncomfortable so that someone else can be comfortable. I'm sorry that I did not leave the restaurant with the right attitude last night but hope that in the future I can do that. I should have used it as a teaching moment to show my children that we have a choice when faced with hostility. We can become bitter, too (look around, our American culture says we have a right to do so), or we can respond with love and grace. And I hope that in the future you might be able to do that for someone else. But if not, hopefully they will be willing to do it for you, and that you might find such grace over and over again. Because I believe that is what my Jesus would have done. And that is the example I long to follow.

Wherever you are, I hope that you are enjoying this beautiful day, and may it be a peaceful and quiet one, too!

Sincerely, Cindy

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