Karen Peikert wrote this. It's beautiful, right? It honestly touches upon how every parent with a unique child feels. For me though, when I read this it shows me a perspective I am not familiar with-I am not a parent and this piece hits home even for an 'outsider' like myself.
However, I was a child and I did have 'special needs.' I vaguely recall awkward exchanges at the dinner table with, let's just say, not the most politically correct people. It's not only adults either, children can be terrible critics of other children and it can always arise at family gatherings.
Anyways I wanted to piggy-back on Karen Peikert's post and paraphrase it, but this time with an alternative perspective. That of a child with special needs:
Many of you will be sitting with me, someone considered different or ‘special’ on Thursday. Please do not point out my food choices in front of everyone, or make comments about my odd behavior. Even now, I am starting to be excited and stressed about what my cousins might say or that Aunt Ethel might put “just a little bit of sweet potatoes” on my plate-or even worse have these potatoes touch other things on my plate.
You have no idea how much I wish I could sit normally at the table like my parents, engage in friendly conversation like my siblings, and laugh at the right jokes like my cousins. I am excited about seeing everyone, but I am terrified about what might be said or done, anxious about it even now and tempted to sit by my mom the whole time.
My parents don’t need to do all of this alone; you are family. You can make all the difference by showing me you understand and shower me with encouragement for the hard road I am on. Help me navigate the day, come to my defense and run interference for me. Play or hang out with me, with no ostracizing comments, so my parents can enjoy just one uninterrupted conversation. Tell me the things you like about me or how big I’ve gotten and how smart I am.
This Thanksgiving, you can be the very person that I am most grateful for.
Peikert, Karen. " Thanksgiving Public Service Announcement." Facebook. November 22, 2017. [November 22, 2017. <https://www.facebook.com/photo.phpfbid=10215168297427045&set=gm.10156426455724381&type=3&theater>].