Tonight we had our "Back To School" night or "Ice Cream Social" or "Open House" or whatever it is called. My children are fortunate to go to a school in a great neighborhood, with a great principal and staff, with great families etc. queenannelementary.com
I have worked at QAE since last year and believe whole heartedly in the mission, the goals, the curriculum, the staff, blah blah blah. I have known that Max and Mad would go there for a awhile and I have hoped that they would for a year.
So, tonight was back to school night and I was full of anticipation and excitement. I couldn't wait to show Michael and the twins the new digs. Couldn't wait to see some of my students that I have missed throughout the summer. I was happy to show off our new building. Usually this is my favorite time of the year. For reals.
Tonight something unexpected happened. Madeleine was introduced to her peers and not all of them welcomed her with open arms as they usually do in my dreams. They were perplexed with her leg. They were wondering what it was. Some tried to touch it. Some asked incessant questions. Some just stared with open mouths and disgusted looks. It broke my heart. My heart continues to break as I sit here. I have cried more tonight than I have in a while. I just forgot. I forgot that people would be surprised. I forgot that people didn't know.
Adults ask me about it and I'm surprised that they don't know. Some are so clueless they actually say, "What's up with her leg?" I know it is because they don't anticipate I will say, "It's a prosthesis. She was born with a birth defect and had her foot amputated at a year." They look at me shocked and apologize.
I wonder if some people who see someone in a wheel chair, "What's up with the chair?"
Or with someone with autism, "what's up with the hand flapping?"
Or with someone who walks with arm crutches, "What's up with the sticks?"
I forgot. I have to explain. I have to worry again if people will accept my little girl. I have to worry about her feelings getting hurt because no one wants to play with her. I have to worry about little girls not wanting to be her friend. Fuck.
Madeleine will have to explain too. She told me today that she missed the EEU. She missed her teachers knowing. She missed the kids.
I know this is an adjustment and things will work out. I'm feeling blind-sighted and angry. And, of course, a little sad.
Here we go again.....