Old school still stings… — 5 Minutes for Special Needs


I don’t have to tell anyone, I don’t think, about how HOT it’s been this week.  As I said before I’m a facebooker too, and sometimes my saturday posts get away from me, sorry.  Some days blend into the next, but I digress.

My father’s family has all kind of “drifted” apart (not saying that anybody is innocent on reasons why, it’s just drifted apart).  I have tried several times to put out the bridge to those that are willing to talk to me.  Because I was a teenager when the drifting happened.  I’ve sent things to my grandparents telling them of my high school graduation, wedding,  Christmas cards and things through out the years.  Nothing ever came back, not even a card or letter in response.  So I thought ok they don’t want to talk with me.  Then when I had my son, my mom had run into my aunt in the hospital.  There fore what was going on with my son was then told to the extended family…that’s when I got letters and cards.  Interesting really because it’d be almost 20 years at that point.

So this winter when it was HORRIBLE out. I called my Great Aunt to ask if she was ok, if she needed anything from the store since it was SOOOO bad and she’s not a big driver (really i’d think at this point shouldn’t be driving but that’s just me).  We’ve talked from time to time.  But it always seems like it’s me calling.  Anyway, she was fine and my cousin had run to the store for her.  I called my grandmother and inquired about her.  She was fine, my unlces were taking care of her.

The funny part is the conversations with them.  My grandmother always asks how my son’s doing.  “Is he holding something yet?” she’ll ask. ” No not yet, but he’s growing like a weed. He’s 49 1/2 inches tall” I reply.  “oh my, do you have to carry him” she respond.  “yes, I do have to carry him” I say.  “Oh My!” that’s all that’s said. 

Then there is my Great Aunt, I have to prep myself for these phone calls because you just never know.  My Great Aunt will say “Is he any better? Is he talking yet? Is he walking yet?  You know I believe in miracles & I do think if you go to church and pray really hard that your prayers could be answered and he could be a miracle…I do believe in miracles & that could be what happens; he could be NORMAL if you prayed about it.  Then he could go to school, cause they have schools for kids like that, you know NORMAL kids”  <OUCH! BLINDSIDED WITH THAT ONE> I tell her he’s not better but is working toward doing more.  He does say some words like Mom, Dad, and newest is Nana (which is what he calls my mom).  The important words.  She tells me “if I work with him, he’ll do more, but again if I prayed for it, read the bible, went to church God would answer my prayers right now God thinks I don’t want to know him or that I don’t want to be bothered. and there is hope that my son could be normal”  Ok, again remember it take prep-work to make these phone calls.  I have to remember this is old school talking so she doesn’t know the politically correct terms to use for today.  She proceeds to tell me about how my uncle and cousins are so wealthy and that she wishes she was and they’re all really good kids (really they’re all adults now with families of their own).  I’m not sure if that was a slap in the face or not.  I said “Well money isn’t everything…there are SO many more important things”  (ok so it’d help with things but really I’d take my family over money anytime <well most of them>).  Then there is the conversation I have with my mom moments after hanging up with my Great Aunt.  I tell her how she always amazes me that she can still ‘zing me’.  And it still gets to me and I cry again.  But again it’s me doing the calling all the time, why is that?  Oh yeah, because she’s family.  She’s older and she lives alone.  But I think she’s well taken care of by neighbors and cousins.  Maybe it’s time to cut that conncection, I don’t know. 

So am I alone on this one?  Maybe your lucky that it’s not your family that does this…maybe it’s a “friend” that you thought knew better…I don’t know.  Anyone in your life do this?  Do you seem to do the calling or making the connection?  I do it, despite my busy life to try to make sure they’re not in need of something I could do for them…yet I sit here without anyone asking if I need help with anything?  I do think that when we find our grove with whatever is going on in our life…we take on another project because that’s what we do…So while I’m taking care of our son, taking care of my mother, we’ve taken on a dog (perfect dog will tell that story next week) and the heat as bad as it is, I just wanted to make sure that family was doing alright and didn’t need anything from me.  Are you just a natural born caregiver?  I’m starting to see it as my calling 🙂

Email Author    |    Website About Tammie

I'm a homeschooling mom to a wonderful special boy. Tristan has spastic quadraplegia (CP), severe cortical vision impairment, seizure disorder, and he is non-verbal. I honestly think he's the one doing the teaching. I would not change anything!

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1 Denise Mitchell July 23, 2011 at 1:06 pm

Tammi, you are so not the only one who goes through something like this! Thankfully, I don’t experience this to the level that you do; but I do nevertheless. However, as crazy as it sounds, I would encourage you to keep on doing what you do! Our blessings continuously come from reaching out, giving, and caring for others. I am probably most sorry for your Aunt (I believe it was) for giving/having a misconception about God and His goodness. She doesn’t understand that your son is “NORMAL”; he’s a child. He may learn differently, think differently, and have different struggles; but we all have something! I am sure that he is a powerhouse of intelligence, love, gentleness, meekness and all of the things that we “so called normal (puhleeze!) folk should seek after. Bless his heart, they come naturally for him and are deeply ingrained. How much we can learn from him is limitless…OK, now I digress lol. I know the feeling of needing to be poured back into and needing someone, anyone to at least sometimes call/come by and say are you ok? Is there anything that I can do for you? However, so often it just ain’t (pardon my ain’t) gonna happen. So, know that sometimes you have to encourage yourself. Make sure that you take time JUST FOR YOU! Pamper YOU because you deserve it. Not because you are the parent of a child with an exceptionality, rather because God determined that YOU are exceptional which is why He entrusted that powerhouse to you! I live in NC; but am only an email or phonecall away. If you want a phone buddy, I am more than willing to do that! If you want a prayer partner, hey I’m your girl. If you want a sounding board,or an encourager man, oh man am I good for that!…I say these things out of a sincere heart; because I, too could use one (:

2 Tammie July 24, 2011 at 4:26 pm

Denise~ Thanks for your comments. I know they don’t mean any harm but it goes back to what is politically correct to say today versus when they were growing up. Times have changed. I wouldn’t trade what I do with my son on a daily basis for anything. This is an aunt that doesn’t have any kids and has never been married…so I take that with a grain or Ton of salt…but sometime it still stings in those open cuts 🙂 Oh well, can’t change the world and their way of thinking. Would love an e-mail buddy…will try to do that soon if you still want to 🙂 Thanks for reading & commenting!

3 Kathleen July 24, 2011 at 9:01 am

I am so sorry, Tammi! I have a 95+ -year-old grandmother whose proclamations on race follow the “old-school” model, and make me writhe. I have learned not to take them personally; nothing I say will ever change her mind, so my responsibility is to say gently things like, “Well, we all bleed the same underneath,” and change the subject. But I’m not a minority, so it’s probably easier for me not to take it personally. If she had things to say about disabilities, it might be a lot harder.

All this to say, it’s probably not helpful, but I sympathize. Hugs. Strength. Emotional detachment.

4 Tammie July 24, 2011 at 4:22 pm

I know what you mean by not taking it personally…but sometimes in all my prepping myselt to make these calls “zap” there it is. Like a bug in a bug zapper they get me. I do try not to take offence but it isn’t always easy. Thanks for reading & commenting!

5 Elise July 24, 2011 at 11:29 am

I really admire you for keeping in touch when the actions of your relatives are insensitive. I find some people I can deal with and know they mean well, while others drive me nuts. I do tend to stop calling those who upset me.

6 Tammie July 24, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Thanks Elise.

They can’t say I don’t try…it just backfires sometimes. Thanks for reading & commenting.

7 Carolyn Stevens July 24, 2011 at 8:54 pm

It’s the whole just be the bigger person thing. Some of us just cant help it. We need to be the reacher. I don’t think there is a way to get rid of that trait either. But other people love you for that trait! Be strong but don’t forget ” the ME” time!

8 Tammie July 24, 2011 at 9:58 pm

Thanks for the comments & reading. I’d like to say there is “me time” but not very often. Not the “me time” that others seem to take anyway. I’ve actually been thinking about writing a letter to my Great Aunt, but then I think is it worth it? Still thinking, writing it in my head, then re-writing it too.

9 Azaera July 30, 2011 at 5:07 pm

I know what you mean, when my second child was born my nana asked me if he was normal and when I said he doesn’t have the same medical problems as my first she said “that’s good, you couldn’t handle another burden” I was pretty much shocked into silence, first of all I could handle two special needs kids if I had to and secondly my son is in no way a burden. Old people. Whatever I try not to let it get to me, she’s from a different time, and he’s too young to understand what she says anyway. Plus we don’t see her very often.

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