We were at a bbq at an old friend’s house. There was a new couple there that we hadn’t met before. We were talking and laughing about the silly things my lovely (but not particularly smart) dog had done when the lady said…
laughing..’oh maybe she was deprived of oxygen at birth…maybe she has Cerebral Palsy.’
Laughs turned to silence. A pain in my heart and a burning in my throat to say something. But then after a few awkward moments it was gone and the conversation switched.
Just like that, without even knowing what she had said, she had insulted my son.
How easily it rolls off the tongue. We’ve almost become immune, haven’t we? Should I have said something? That would have surely made her feel uncomfortable. Or should I have just stayed quiet like I did?
I do notice it a lot more now, things said in jest which can eat right through to a person’s soul.
I used to say it. ‘That’s so gay.’ ‘That’s retarded.’ ignorantly not knowing the hurt it can cause. As if being gay or retarded or having Cerebral Palsy is something less, something comical, something unwanted.
I don’t think I should have stayed quiet. Next time I won’t.