I am sure that every parent questions how they have raised their children. I know I have. I have not been strict enough in making them eat all of their vegetables and clean their rooms, (mainly because I don’t eat all of my vegetables and clean my room.) I know to some people this is a major parenting faux pas. However, I have raised my children right in the most important area…caring for others.
I volunteer with a recreational group of adults with and without disabilities. We have a bowling league, then go out to dinner together, then have an activity at night, such as Bingo, Family Feud, or a visiting musician. All of my children have come with me to this group, starting with Francis when he was a baby and the group purchased a portable crib so I could bring him camping with us. My children have been raised socializing with people with disabilities so that any disability is not knew to them.
Angel, my son with Dissociative Identity Disorder, has been my latest child to attend with me. One of his “peeps” (as his calls his “parts’) I call the Game Show Host. Angel is the one who calls the numbers for Bingo, or reads the questions for Family Feud. He is hilariously similar to a game show host, right down to kissing the female “contestants” during a game of Family Feud. From the minute he starts an activity to the minute he finishes, we are all in stitches laughing. Silly laughing. Innocent laughing. Heart beating fast with cheeks that hurt from laughing laughing. He is terrific, and I am so proud that he has learned to manage his disability in order to make others happy.
The happiest moment of all happened on Christmas Day. All of our family festivities are on Christmas even, and Christmas Day is always a lazy one for us. In fact, the children and I usually go to the movies. Angel asked if it was okay if he invited a friend to the movies, and of course I said yes. When we got there, waiting for us expectantly, was Lisa, a 65 year old woman with a disability; the “friend” which he had invited. She was dressed for Christmas…Christmas sweater, Santa Claus earrings, a Santa Hat and bright red lipstick. She was glowing as she hugged us all. It seems that she has no family and had sat in her apartment alone for Christmas Eve. Somehow Angel knew this, prompting his request that she come with us on Christmas Day.
We all laughed at the funny movie, and enjoyed a large popcorn, (mmmmmmm…movie theater fake butter popcorn!) After the movie, we went out to a Chinese restaurant for dinner. (Duh! Chinese restaurants are open…) We had a lively conversation about anything and everything funny, and she beamed the whole time. When we left her outside at her car to go home, she burst into tears. She thanked us profusely. She said she was so lonely at Christmas, when everyone else had a family, that she had contemplated suicide because she had no one. She said this was her best Christmas EVER! Try as I might not to, tears slid down my cheek also. Tears of sympathy for her and of pride for my son…a son who is seriously disabled himself, but who was still able to find the ability to care deeply for the feelings of this wonderful, lonely woman.
Yes, I have raised him right…