In between piddling and mommying and doing the busy things that mothers do I hear a familiar sound coming from the living room. My heart skips a beat. My daughter is crying. But this is not a wimper type of cry. This is an all-out “Mom get here NOW” kind of cry.
So Mom gets there. NOW.
I find her standing in the middle of the living room floor with tears coming down her chubby-cheeked face. She turns toward me as I approach her. The tears are flowing in bucket drops and I can feel the hurt coming from her little body. I lean down and reach out to her as she walks toward me. As her arms reach my neck she grabs me and holds on tight. I feel the wetness of her face as she continues to sob.
I take a mental inventory of the room with my Mom-DAR on full alert. Her unfinished snack is still on the tray. She’s already had a bath. She had just gone to the bathroom. The iPad was fully charged and had her favorite movie in view. It was close to bedtime and I had been doing those last minute before bed tasks without realizing what was going on in the next room. What could be the problem?
I moved her head from my shoulder and looked in her tear-soaked eyes. “What’s wrong, Punkin?” I ask.
She looked back and then turned her face toward the television. Lifting her left hand she pointed at the flat screen, all the while gripping my neck with vice-like strength. She can’t put her feelings into words but I know full well what the problem is.
The third Presidential debate is on. I look at the monitor and the candidates are arguing. AGAIN. My daughter turns away and is crying. AGAIN. The bickering has started and this negativity has filled my living room. AGAIN. She picks up on it and it has made her cry.
With all of this bickering and unfounded squabble I felt like I was sitting in the midst of yet another contentious IEP meeting. I just had a flashback. This is making me angry.
“Do you like these people? ” I asked her. She shook her head NO, with her head still buried in my neck.
I get up to change the channel. Anything will work right now. I abandoned network television to try my luck with the Roku. I find a comedy and placed the remote back on the counter. I’m upset with myself because in my haste to ready her for bed I failed to set the atmosphere for a calm, smooth transition. It was a simple oversight but I can’t help but feel a certain kind of way because these people that I do not know are making my daughter cry and I can’t do a thing about it. She has a discerning spirit about her and though she can’t verbalize these complexities I understand completely.
I wiped her sweet little face and took her to her room. I tucked her in and played our little bedtime tickle game. I kissed her on her cheek and said, “Good Night”. Her face is dry. Crisis averted. Mom for the win.
I hate feeling like a prisoner in my own living room because I can’t even watch television without seeing an attack ad. It’s difficult to form a learned opinion about issues without feeling caught up in a whirlwind of hate. I try to vet the shows I let my daughter watch but even the commercials bombard us with negativity. We encounter enough of it as a special needs family and I should be able to find solace in my own home. I feel like our family is caught in the crossfire of a voter war.
Fast forward three weeks. There are no more debates. The attack ads are still there but this mom isn’t having it. I’m not a fan of perpetuating a hostile home environment with slander and innuendo. Since that day I have been the commercial police with the remote on my hip or we simply watch On Demand because there are no ads. We have ramped up the homeschooling schedule and eliminated even more of the background noise. I wish that by early voting you could be exempt from seeing any more ads. But until then I’m the sheriff and I’ll battle at high noon for my little deputy.
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“Inclusion Is for the Included: A Collection of Stories from a Special Needs Mom,” available NOW at https://store9809015.ecwid.com/
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