Monday, April 28, 2008

You Are Not Wanted.

So yesterday everything came to a head. All of the constant running around, things going on every night and no time to decompress and be with my family. There was an incident at church, a small misunderstanding, really, but it made me feel ugly inside. I was hurt, and for a brief moment I hated, but then I took a breath and slowly worked on becoming me again.

I don't want to say too much, because I know sometimes my local friends read this blog. But at church yesterday, I was basically told that Niko was unwelcome to a place that he had always been welcome to. There are new people there now who don't know and understand him, and want him elsewhere because he's distracting. Which he IS, and I know it! And after thinking about it, I know that these decisions were made in the best interest of everybody. I wish I had been involved in the decision making, of course, so that I knew not to bring him to that room, but I know these decisions were not made out of unkindness. These are sweet people who are balancing a lot of responsibility, and are working tirelessly to do good things. I'm not angry anymore, and probably wouldn't have been angry at all if things had been communicated properly beforehand. Sometimes we just get too busy.

But as it was, I had the joy of standing in a room with my weeping child and being told, as gently as possible, that he was no longer welcome there, that he was too difficult to deal with. I was blindsided, and stood there in shock while Niko wrapped his arms around my neck and cried. And I cried, too. I cried twice in church, and then I came home and cried. Then my friend June called me, and I cried harder than I had cried in a long time, the kind of crying where you can't stop long enough to catch your breath. Then I cried when I went to bed, and today when somebody asked about it, and I'm crying now. This is what I have to say.

You touched on my greatest fear. I'm afraid when Niko plays on the playground with mean kids that knock him down. I'm afraid when little girls back away from him when he's screaming. I'm afraid when the kids poke him with sticks through the fence when he's playing in his own backyard. The phrases "You are not wanted" and "You don't belong here" and "You are too different" are the most cruel things that you can say to somebody, and they don't always need to be said with words. You are kind, wonderful people, and I'm sure that if I knew you, I'd really enjoy you. I know you have to worry about kids other than my sweet boy. But the way this went down was terrible and humiliating, and my son and I were left feeling like we had violated your space by existing. You became the very thing that I am most afraid of. You became my monster.

13 comments:

Janyece said...

*hugs* from VA! We really miss you guys and love you sooo much! thanks for calling me yesterday. thanks for the blog. I think you hit on a lot of mothers' worst fears for the kids and maybe others will read it and be more aware of what they say and how they say it. I know I plan on being more careful. Love you lots!! come visit us! VA is such a fun place and room and board are FREE!!

Andrea W. said...

I love you.
*sitting quietly by, if you need me*
*willing to hold your hand, if you need me*

Tes said...

i hate that monster, i hate that you have that monster close at this time, i want to cry but my anger is in the way right now, it will go away like yours and i too will be left crying my eyes out. i pray that God gives you peace today and always. Lila's mommy.

Jeff and Jessie said...

I am so sorry for you and your hurt. Please know you are in my heart and prayers.
Jessica (Taylor)

Julie said...

My son Noah is 2. We have not come across a situation like that but I know they are coming. Our nursery at church ends at 3 yet I can imagine him moving on in six months. I think it is wonderful through your hurt and anger that you can understand why the decision was made. That however doesn't make it hurt any less. You are in my thoughts.

Every minute counts.... said...

I have flet that same way at the church we were going to but I was never actually told, you're not welcome. That is horrible! It could have and should have been handled so differently. I am so sorry that you have been shown the worst side of being a special needs parent.I am so angery and hurt myself for you and your family.
Thinking of you, Noel

Laura Oler said...

This doesn't sound right to me. I don't know what the guidelines are, but I can't imagine Nikko being any more difficult than my autistic nephew, who is quite difficult. In his ward, someone is called just to sit with him and work with him in primary. I always think what a difficult calling that would be, but such a service for his parents. I do admire how charitable you are!

AmyNPyper said...

BABE!! Janyece told me to read your recent blog and I can't express how badly my heart hurts for you and your sweet Niko. I knew you were brave, but this is beyond what you should have to deal with (there are so many other battles)--especially not at church where we learn how important we all are in God's plan. I hope my ranting doesn't make things worse-you are a better person then I...I would suggest that maybe you and Luke meet with your Priesthood leader (if you haven't yet) to discuss the situation and see if there is something that can be done to make this right. All children belong in Primary-some just need a little more love and attention. I love you babe...call anytime you need to.

Nancy said...

My author-friend here who has an adult daughter with severe brain damage said it is a hard moment indeed when you look around church and realize that not everybody is welcome as we were led to believe. Her daughter can't attend to this day because she sings too loud and is "disruptive."

As you may or may not know, I struggled finding a place for us to be in the building on Sunday. We found a solution, and I hope you can too.

I'm just so sorry you went through this. If it makes you feel any better, I broke down in the church hallway one day. It was a BIG, LOUD, UGLY cry with snot-streamers, too.

Amy said...

Mumble, mumble, mumble, not liking what I hear. Grumble. Anyway, I can't imagine why people feel disruption...that just makes some noise...is more important to eliminate then to offer a family and a special son into a community of support and understanding. Just forgive them, that is all you can do. They make me very sad because they are TRULY missing the point of kindness, acceptance, and humanity. In a church of all places. The hardest lessons hurt the most.
I am so very sorry for you and Niko.
xoxo
Amy

camille said...

Thinking of you right now. I have that same fear happening at church too. For now, Connor can stay in the "toddler room" until 4, but then is expected to move on to a more structured environment where there are way more kids and way less adults and I'm so so worried that if people can't be understanding in a church, then what is it going to be like for him in the "real" world?

Agnes Minerva said...

Oh, lady. I think so many of us have the same fears for our children. I'm not expecting the worst until Charlotte goes to school at least. There are times at the playground when some older kid looks at her 2-year-old exuberance with disdain and I want to smack that kid. But she doesn't notice yet, so I hold.

But you, my dear, you have already lived through that fear. At church. My heart cries for you. I'm so sorry. And still, you are gracious toward those who have been unwise if not unkind. You're my hero.

Katie Aldrich said...

Oh Mercedes....That post made me want to cry too! I can relate, if only in a very small way to that same fear. I think every Mom harbors it deep inside. Not all of us will face it the way you did, and thank goodness for that, because if it had been me and one of my boys, all I can say is that there would have been some very mean words coming out of my mouth, and possibly some hair pulling. My prayer for you is that Heavenly Father can take your pain away and reassure you that while you can't protect Niko from the world, you can give him the deep, sure knowledge that he is loved and valued so that things like this will never be able to affect the way he feels about who he is. I myself am light years from that place, but you seem pretty close. We miss you guys!