I am fortunate that I've only received encouraging comments about what I've wrote on this blog from people. Blessed, you have been a blessing to me during some of my darkest times this past year. I sometimes reread your comments when I feel down. Others too, have been an encouragement. I realize that in opening up my heart, and writing thoughts, fears, and actions down, I am also opening myself up to judgement. I am far from perfect, and make bad choices, struggle with my attitudes, and can get discouraged easier than I'd like. I take the chance of exposing myself so that I can process my journey, and maybe help and encourage others who are struggling in theirs. It has been a source of growth in my life, sort of a open book journal.
Yesterday I commented on a news article about a young man who killed two people and badly hurt another in a mall near my relatives' homes in Oregon. The article stated that the man was raised by his aunt and that no one saw it coming. Of course, given my experience of FASD, I asked if someone could research why his aunt raised him, and if there was a possibility of FASD. I didn't say much at all about my kids, other than to say my kids had FASD too. I especially was concerned because of the Fatal Link book I read last summer that linked many school shootings to FASD. I did this in maybe three sentences.
This was one person's reply:
You have negative thoughts about those children and you are the one raising them..
My advise is put the book down and love those children..
I don't know how to best respond to this comment. Oh, I've already replied to him, telling him he has no idea how much I love my kids and how I've loved them even though living with someone with FASD isn't easy. My heart breaks when I see them struggle every day with the effects of fetal alcohol and past trauma. I'm satisfied with how I responded to his comment.
But what I am struggling with is how I can respond in my heart, to have a thicker skin, to not let such an obvious lie hurt. I don't know how others do it. It's easy for me to take it from my kids, who say hurtful things when they are dysregulated. They may say I'm stupid, fat, and old, that I'm not their mom, and that they don't believe in God. I know that they are acting out in their pain in a way they think will hurt me most, but they don't really mean it. Well most of it, anyway. I know they really love me but are just lashing out. But I don't know how to take it from strangers, or from people I have only met once or twice. I got offended when the psychologist doubted Ms. D had FAS. I wavered when the case worker doubted my ability to homeschool my daughter. I worry more about my ability to parent when we are in public than when I'm with people I know love us no matter how the kids act. I would make an awful politician. I don't know how people like Sarah Palin do it!
I think I need to get to the place where I care more about what God thinks, than what people think. My worth and my work is not best judged by others, especially strangers. How can they possibly understand everything at one glance or after reading few sentences? Advice from those who really know our situation is a lot better than from some unknown person, even an expert. I also need to keep learning how to best parent my children. It's good learn all I can about the primary and secondary conditions of fetal alcohol so that I can be an expert on raising them. Love is not enough, even though it does help. And finally, I need to concentrate on the good things, the encouraging things, the things that bring me peace and joy, especially on days like these when I've been knocked off balance by stupid comments.