Today will be Phoenix's first day of school. In a few hours, at 11:47am to be exact, the "short bus" will pull up to our driveway and whisk Phoenix off to a special education pre-school. Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa and his two little brothers will be cheering him on as he steps on that bus, recording the moment with our cameras and mapping out his life according to our hopes and dreams for him. Yet here I am thinking about the RETARD BUS.
Let me start by saying that I truly am ok with having a child with special needs. No pity needs to be given. But sometimes I'm just slapped in the face with how I was before Phoenix. I don't think I personally made fun of the "'tards", but I'm sure that I laughed along with whoever was cracking the jokes and I definitely did not stand up to anyone who was making fun of them. One can chalk it up to "kids being kids" or that it was "harmless" (yeah, right!!!!) but I stood on the sidelines and let it happen. I know part of it was "the fear of the unknown/people different from me", but it is my indifference and apathy that haunt me. Why don't I understand or feel empathy until something happens to me personally (i.e. having my own child with special needs)?
Today will be an exciting day. We got a great deal on a DIEGO backpack and Phoenix will be a stud in his blue button-down pilot shirt, navy blue POLO shorts and his new navy blue CROCS. His tan face, curly hair and frequent smile will charm everyone he meets. But there is a lesson here that I wish I had learned as kid- to love, respect and give dignity to ALL people (John 13:34-35).