As I watched the caring hands load my girls onto the school bus this morning, a couple of things came to mind:
I am so thankful for the days when my kids are well enough to attend their day school. The interaction and therapy they receive each day at the school is more than I can give them at home on my own. I also crave that quiet spot at 8:30 A.M. when I can catch my breath and a coffee before taking on the rest of the day. Caring for kids with special needs means your days and nights are almost never routine, so when there is a bit of a pattern - like an 8:30 moment of stillness, you savour it.
I am saddened by the story that has gone viral regarding comments and concerns over a group home in the city of Etobicoke. The hurtful comments are hard to read, but I am also sad that we spend so much time shaming. It's easier to pop a response on Twitter than it is to ask how you can tangibly help. Once again, the social network and media outlets are excited to pick up their pitchforks and chase the Ford family. Once again, a high profile position highlights an ignorance - that needs more education and less finger-pointing.
The beauty in this viral mayhem is that people are talking. Perhaps this messy story can change the ignorance of the greater masses - and help solve legitimate problems that exist. My friend Louise wrote a response to this muddle that is worth reading. There are stories out there. Each of the kids involved has a story. Their families have stories. Those neighbours have stories. And Mr. Ford has a story. Are we listening? Do we care?
I hope this latest local drama sparks a renewed sense of energy for awareness and support for our more vulnerable population and for those who work to provide their care (parents, families, nurses, PSWs, etc.). There are parents who feel completely lost and helpless to care for their children, and they take to drastic measures.
I hope these stories of ignorance and stories of helplessness are heard by the politicians who want to win the upcoming election. When that politician knocks on your door or phones you, ask them their perspective.
Who will carry my kids when I can't? More than ever, there is a need for support - for those who need care and those who provide the care. And when ignorance raises its ugly head like a braying donkey, we've got to turn that into a call for compassion and education. Stepping out of our comfort zones, letting go of the not-in-my-backyard attitude, learning from our mistakes... all of this builds our village.