This blog post starts 2 years ago, almost to the day.
20 May 2013
It’s Monday morning and I am at work. The building where I used to work was open plan so as people are settling in to their work week, I can hear their scatterings of conversation amid sips of latte. I quite like Monday mornings these days, it’s a chance for me to get out of my ‘physio-OT-speechie-cook-what-have-you-mum’ clothes and dust off my rarely worn working-and-attempting-to-be-fashionable-mum clothes that harp back to a time when I had disposable time and disposable income.
“…it was so sad watching that boy have to work so hard…”
Oh, I guess someone also watched the 60 Minutes story about the young boy with Cerebral Palsy who was trialling a new therapy that might help him to walk. It was pretty tear-jerking stuff and, as I’ve discussed before, the media know how to pull on our heart strings.
“…and then it was followed by the Amanda Berry story…”
Amanda Berry, Michelle Knight and Gina DeJesus had, just days before on 6 May 2013, been freed after being held captive for over 10 years by Ariel Castro in Cleveland, Ohio. Berry and her 6 year old daughter had managed to escape and contact police. These young women had suffered unimaginable physical and emotional abuse at the hand of their kidnapper.
“…I don’t watch 60 Minutes anymore, it’s too depressing…”
Sure, I can understand that people could refer to both of those stories as “depressing”, but that is their reality. And that story of the family doing all they can to best support their son is, in part, my reality.
Yes, I applied my lip gloss this morning and may have even worn a shoe with a sneaky heel, but it’s all just theatre that may easily belie my backstage reality. I suppose the truth of it is that it’s hard acknowledging that my reality is sad to those looking in. And perhaps the easiest thing to do would be to change the channel.
23 April 2015
I’m preparing to go to bed and quickly have a flick through my Facebook newsfeed. I’m looking through the recent posts in a group for parents of children with disabilities when I see the headline “Precious. Inspiring. Perspective” and the confronting image of a young boy with a disease that causes his skin to be as fragile as that of a butterfly and means that he is in perpetual pain.
On seeing that story, my first response is to close my Facebook, to change the channel. In a split second I quickly rationalise my decision – I’ve had a hard day, my kids are sick, I’m exhausted, I have no more tears to cry this week.
And in that instant, my emotional response from 2 years before on over-hearing that a story akin to my reality was worthy of a channel flick, came flooding back to me. No, I will not change the channel on this boy and his mum.
I watched the 12 minute YouTube clip entitled The Butterfly Child of this smart, tough kid and his devoted mother navigate their reality with love and courage. And even though I cried and am now going to bed an hour and a half later than planned so I could write this all down, I am glad I didn’t change the channel.