Defending Others’ Choices

So, my heart nearly broke reading this. My choices may be different than Cammie’s in regards to socialization and education, but our families are different and I totally respect that. I felt badly that someone misinterpreted her tone (although I realize it happens, a lot). I have never, ever read her posts as “uppity.” If anything, they have inspired me. Different as our lives may be in some respects, I have always read her posts and thought, “there is a mom who loves her kids as much as I love mine and God bless her, she’s doing the best with everything God’s given her.”

It also broke my heart because for the making friends with other moms, well, I’ve been there too. I have seen my boys struggle at times in interactions, which I blame on my own introversion. But mostly, when I’m not around, they seem to have no trouble making friends, even the kind of friend you play with one afternoon you both happen to be at the park and never see each other again. And more often now when I am there, they make friends. Which is its own kind of awesome. But I know it’s not just my introvertedness, it’s also, Shelby. If Shelby is with us, I have to have my eyes on her at all times. She does not have elopement issues per se, but she can get distracted by things and wander. And that’s scary. And Shelby can’t be part of religious education classes at our parish because none of the parishes in our area offer anything for special needs. She can’t make it through an hour long mass, so I could definitely feel Cammie’s pain there too.

We’re both moms of very sweet, beautiful, precious special girls and we’re both making the best decisions to fit our individual situations. Socialization is being satisfied in different ways. My boys are best friends the same way Cammie’s girls are, preferring each other to anyone else. And I love it. They still have neighborhood friends (we’re a boy-heavy neighborhood). And William has his sweet friends from BSF and Joseph has four great friends at school including a little boy who is his “best friend” and I have to say we must have done something right because he gravitated straight to a little boy whose family has the same values. I’m sure William will have a set of “school friends” as well when he gets there, but honestly, if we’re still living here at middle school, I’m going to have to pull them out and if we can’t afford our parish’s school and we don’t make the lottery for charter school, they’ll be homeschooled. And it’s not a last resort nuclear, turn your keys gentleman option. We’re keeping it open for any adjustments we may need to make.

The way I read Cammie, is the way I read myself, she’s done her research but she also knows her family and she’s made the best decisions for them. And occasionally she has to defend those decisions to friends, family and strangers. I don’t think the commenter intended malice or anything negative but was providing a different view and possibly did misread the tone.

I have read my fair-share of “you’re-a-terrible-parent-if-you-aren’t-homeschooling-and-are-abusing-your-children-by-sending-them-to-any-school” blogs. I tend not to return to them. I hate making statements about our schooling options because I sometimes fear my explanation of why we’ve chosen what we’ve chosen may come off as a criticism of those who have made other choices.

I guess the point I’m trying to get around to making is that even in somewhat similar situations, there can be very different answers to similar “problems.” And one is more right or better as long as it fits the family wearing it, it’s okay. I also think we should be careful when reading about others’ choices to have our minds free and clear of our own misconceptions and experience. I felt that the commenter was making unfair judgments based upon her own limited experience in her family. I don’t think she intentionally set out to do that, but it certainly is how it read to suggest that because right now is not the best time for one family to make a ton of friends at mass or in the community that it never will be. Perhaps if some of these statements had been phrased as questions, it might not have come across as it did to me. I also think that anecdotal experience can be helpful if it is used to support the person or family in question. But it is only anecdotal.

Again, I don’t think the person who wrote these comments was coming from a place of malice or ill-will but I also don’t think much of what this person said was justified or justifiable given the evidence (blog posts) we have at our disposal. And I’m not trying to trash this commenter but I do want to throw some support Cammie’s way. She is so much further ahead than I was at the same period of time after diagnosis in her thinking and action. I want her to know, no, it’s not how all of us read you and you’re doing a great job. I’m proud of you.

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One thought on “Defending Others’ Choices

  1. Thank you so, so much for this kind post Kristen! I just want to hug you! I was surprised that so many people seemed to think I was saying this was a one size fits all approach (and seemed so offended by the girls’ friendship!)… when that, as you observed, was never what I intended. I have so many friends who’ve made different choices for their kids before we moved to Michigan and it’s been so amazing to see how those different choices can really help a family blossom (my best friend just found an awesome sounding charter school and I’m so, so happy for her because it sounds like a perfect fit for what she’d been looking for all these years!). I think sometimes people have a hard time imagining that someone can choose something different than what they’ve chosen without thinking that that choice is universally better, if that makes sense. Again, thank you so much for your kind words! They mean so much to me!

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