So one of the conversations I had with The Barbara started out innocently enough - I was telling her about how much I love Ace's school and all of his teachers and therapists and friends etc. Like she often does, The Barbara had to turn a positive conversation into a negative one. She said "those poor, poor children," which made me cringe. I tried, in vain, to turn the conversation back to being positive and tell her how much the children progress at the school, when she started telling me how I should feel so lucky when I see the other kids there and "aren't you glad that Ace only has what he has?"
Anyway. She then started saying how I should be so thankful because "those other kids have it so much worse." I looked at her, patiently waiting for her to stop talking (because arguing with her does no good, I've discovered in the 8 years I've been with her son). It became clear that she was waiting for me to agree with her. I was momentarily stunned - what did she want me to say? "Sucks to be them, I'm so lucky!"
After a second of stammering, I said "I don't like to compare - everyone has their own story. There are a lot of disabilities represented at Ace's school."
I don't know how I managed to handle that diplomatically because I seriously hate when people feel sorry for Ace and other kids with disabilities. Life's gonna be hard for him to some extent, but his only limitations will be what other people place on him.
My question to y'all is this - I've tried to school The Barbara in other things (like how Ace's prematurity was not, in fact, my fault) and she doesn't especially listen. Since Ace will be growing up hearing her say "poor baby," do I confront her sympathy directly? Do I ask her to stop and explain why?
What do I do, internets?
3 weeks ago