I've written this post in my head a hundred times, sort of nervous about actually posting it. I don't believe it's true... or maybe I just don't want to believe it's true.
Beth has been a part of All Aboard for gosh, 7 years. She's taken classes, gone to events and the other day I went on their web site and clicked on the link for Pictures. You know, she wasn't in a single photo. Not one of her in the art class, not one of her at the prom, not a candid photo, nothing.
She's a wall flower in the world of wall flowers.
I know it's her personality to be shy and introverted, but when even the special needs community doesn't embrace your child...
At the picnic last week, no one came up to talk to her. She went up to a few people, they'd give her a quick hug and that was it. She'd turn around and come right back to sit with me. She tried to give one of the leaders a hug and every time she'd touch her arm to get her attention, the leader would turn away. I'm glad Beth was persistent. She finally got a quick hug around the 4th time. I felt awful.
And that's also a problem. I felt awful, but it doesn't seem to bother Beth at all. She was happy for the hug and came right back over to me. But this momma's heart was aching.
I've been reading on Facebook recently about other adults with Down Syndrome who are going off to college, running their own businesses, standing up for their independence in court, having surgery so they can continue their passion of dancing. I'm truly happy for them. I'm excited to read about their goals and achievements. They're making strides and opening doors for younger kids to achieve their dreams one day.
But it's hard to read about those kids when Beth is just content to watch TV. I want more for her. But I also have to remember it's not about what I want.
One regret I have is not finding out what Beth was good at growing up. Our other girls figured it out on their own, taking classes in school and deciding what they liked or didn't like. For Sharaya it was photography. Diana has a variety of things she's interested in and is still figuring out what she wants to do with the rest of her life. But she's doing it. Beth never really expressed an interest in things like they did. I feel bad for not exploring that more or forcing her to try new things. I know it's not too late, but some days I feel like it is.
When Beth was in school, I would occasionally send notes to the teacher asking for this students or that students phone number so maybe we could arrange a time to get the girls together, but nothing ever came of it. Even if the teacher wasn't allowed give me their info and instead gave my info to the other parent, they never called or contacted us.
And now that Beth is an adult, people still don't call her or invite her out. She sits in her room watching TV and writing. When we do take her to dances or picnics, she sits with us or she sits alone.
Just like every other social group, the world of special needs has their cliques, their popular kids, their levels of hierarchy. And even in that, Beth is one of the unpopular kids.