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Monday
Nov012010

My Son Has a Super Power

My son has a superpower.

He is invisible.

Most disabled people are, you know

They are born with it, alongside twisted limbs or broken minds.

My son, he can't walk, or talk, or eat

He can't hear and he will never fly. But

He is invisible.

You may not have seen him. But he saw you

He smiled at you. A smile

Bright as a ray of light shining through a cracked window.

He looked at you.

Hoping you would see past the invisibility tattooed on his skin, cloaked around his wheelchair.

He stood beside his siblings

His cousin and he smiled. For you.

You didn't see him.

Or you wouldn't see him.

Was it the drool on the side of his mouth which

scared you off?

Was it the twisted way he held his hands?

Or the way his head flops slightly to the left?

He smiled still

As you overlooked him, tossing pieces of candy into the bags

Other children held out.

His bag, empty

Invisible.

He smiled still as his aunt explained why he sat at the bottom of your stairs.

"His legs don't work."

He smiled when you refused eye contact with him and handed a piece of candy to me to give to him.

Refusing to touch him.

Refusing to come out of your warm bright homes to see him.

My invisible monkey boy, he smiled for you.

I stood beside him, willing you to see him

Wanting my pride, my love for him to be a beacon for your eyes.

Wishing for your eyes to land on him and see his value.

To see him.

For him not to be invisible.

House after house

We tried.

Door after door, princesses, vampires, Spidermans

they all wished they had super powers as they begged for treats

My boy,

he tricked them all.

He still smiled

even when you didn't see him,

couldn't see him,

wouldn't see him.

Everybody should have a superpower.

Nobody should be invisible.

If I could pick a power

I'd use it to shine the light on every person with disabilities,

I'd make you see.

My son. He is NOT

Invisible.


I see you, kid.


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Reader Comments (320)

Wowsers. Exactly how I felt last night as my boy sat in his special jog stroller, couldn't get up the walkways and go on porches. And he cried.

You hit the nail on the head with this one.

November 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThe Domestic Goddess

This was an incredibly moving and powerful post and I cried reading it. If I ever unintentionally made someone feel invisible for any reason - I will never do it again! Thank you for opening my eyes. Your son is beautiful and is lucky to have you for a mom.

November 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHO

How could anyone NOT see him? He's so stinkin' cute. I would have given him a shit load of candy. I'm not sure what the actual measurement is but I'm sure it's a lot.

November 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLauren

Beautiful.

This post. Your boy.

Both of them.

November 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTwoBusy

I wish you lived near me, I would have seen him!

November 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca DeWitt

Oh. My heart.

Tanis, YOU are a superpower and a bright shining light.

Love love love this post, although I hate why you had to write it.

He is not invisible -- they're just blinded by ignorance.

November 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterrachel

Oh my good Lord, is he ever a beautiful boy! I love his naughty little grin. How in the hell did anyone miss that?

Most definitely NOT invisible!

November 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAunt Baaa

I saw your tweets last night...they broke my heart. Last year, in our town's holiday parade, my then-6 year old marched along with his schoolmates, handing out candy canes to kids looking on. He walked up to a girl in a wheelchair, who too was disfigured. Her head flopped to the left as well. He handed her a candycane. I'm not sure whose smile was brighter: hers, her mothers or mine. Three nights ago, my son brought up this encounter. He still wasn't totally sure what the big deal was. I explained to him how important it is to look people in the eye, no matter who they are. I told him that people who are in wheelchairs often get ignored, talked over. It was a lesson I learned from my dad when I worked my first job in retail during the holiday season. "Be sure to look them in the eyes," he used to tell me. I'm teaching my kid the same thing and am hopeful that he'll be one who steps out on his front porch, walks up to a child in a wheelchair and hands them a piece of candy just like he did last year. I'm so so sorry that more people aren't like that but you are a kick ass mama for continuing to bring awareness to this issue. It's such a small act of human decency.

November 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEmmieJ

Or it could be that his shine blinds people.

November 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJason

::standing ovation::

for both of you beauties.

November 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commenternic @mybottlesup

i see him
he is beautiful

and he can have OUR candy!

November 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkarmen

You've made me tear up and smile. I see him.

November 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKevin

How anyone can not see that beautiful boy is beyond me. He's so cute!! If he'd come to my house I'd have given him loads of candies and kisses too!
This post tugs my heartstrings.
Some people are so ignorant and it makes me so mad!

November 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBecca_Masters

I will never forget the glances, the looks the scorn on people's faces when they would look in my daughters car seat and assume that I had somehow either caused her harm or allowed it to happen. She had a small hemangioma, which in the grand scheme of things is fucking NOTHING... yet I still remember the hurt I felt when no one would ever say anything, unlike my first born, I never heard what a beautiful child I had (and she was gorgeous!)... no instead I heard people whisper to their children that my baby had been hurt, or flat out ask me what did I do to her. People suck....

Hugs to you!

November 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermelanie

I was born a lonely singer,
And I'm bound to die the same,
'Cause I've got to feed the hunger in my soul.
And if I never have a nickel,
I won't ever die ashamed,
'Cause I don't believe that no one wants to know.

From "To Beat the Devil" as sung by Johnny Cash

November 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCynthia Durham

Bring that beautiful boy over here and I'll give him some ding dang candy. Seriously. That hairdo is killer. He deserves better. And thankfully, he's got better in YOU.

November 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGen

Beautiful.

November 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEstrogen Files

tears
and i understand
hugs to you and family

November 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKindra68

Beautifully said! I was reading your tweets last night and couldn't believe how people were being. I see your son and wish others did to. They could learn so much from him.

November 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterElle

Awesome poem. Your son is gorgeous. He's lucky to have a smart, articulate and witty mom like you.

I don't know how anyone wouldn't see him. People can be ignorant and mean sometimes.

What I didn't ask on Twitter last night was whether or not he dressed up and if so, as what?

BTW, off topic, sorry we didn't really get a chance to meet at Blissdom. I enjoyed listening to you on the content panel.

November 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEden Spodek

OH MY GOSH! The big, sloppy, mascara running tears are flowing. What assholes people are. Jumby would of gotten the entire bowl at my house! That beautiful bright eyed son of yours is anything but invisible. He is a true testament to what children can endure and still keep smiling. Such a sad world when a disabled child is ignored. Little do those small minded people know the joy they missed out on not seeing that incredible smile.

November 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterColleen

This is a very powerful post....

I'd give him every last piece of candy in my bowl.

November 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSuZ

Let me first get this out of my system: What the fuck is wrong with some people? I can not even fathom ignoring your child or any child with special needs for that matter. Or any human being for that matter! (unless they are these types of assholes, of course)
What a wonderfully written post, though. That boy is so lucky to have you as his Mom - also? OMG, he is so damn cute, I'd have to give him a handful of candy AND a big hug!

November 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCathy

I'm in tears. And I'm sorry. I hope I would have smiled at him and come down the porch stairs to put candy in his bag. Because of this post, I will be sure that I do that for your kid, for anyone's kid, for everyone's kid, next time, every time.

November 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRoberta

I absolutely beamed at that picture of your boy. He may not have seen me, but I smiled.

November 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJulie @ The Mom Slant

Thank you for this post. I had no idea that this would happen -- especially house after house. Hugs to Jumby.

November 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlex@LateEnough

He's beautiful. I'm so sorry that not everyone can see that. Reading your blog has made a big impact on me when it comes to disabled children. I have a cousin who sounds very similar to Jumby and I've always loved her, but never thought I'd be able to parent a disabled child until reading your blog.

November 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMrs. Wilson

I love his upper mouth dimples on his sweet crooked smile. And his hair. Amazeballs.

He's not invisible. Some people are quite simply blind. I'm sorry THEIR shortcomings have to hurt YOU.

November 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterchatty cricket

Beautiful. Both you and your boy. This hurts my heart. How amazingly lucky he is to have you - a mom who will make sure he is never, ever invisible. I wish you came to my door....

November 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDanielle Smith

The post brought tears to me, Tanis, and your tweets last night left me both sad & angry. Who could ignore such a beautiful smile?!? Your post made me vow to be even more aware of those children who are like your Jumby and to talk with respect and SEE these people. But I also try to remember that some disabilities, like my fibromyalgia, can't be seen. I never know what someone is "bringing to the table", so I may take a little longer in conversation. I want to know you. All that you feel comfortable to share with me.
Your smile says so much, Jumby. I hope to meet you and your family someday.
Love from Nadine

November 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNadine

I feel so sorry for those people. Yes, them. How else can I feel to know there are people out there who are truly so narrow-minded, ignorant or even afraid. And who's the blind one at the door? I dare say it's not Jumby.

Bless you, Jumby. You didn't come to my door, but through your Momma's words you are not invisible to me. Your smile has brightened my world and for that, I'd pay all the ridiculous candy in the world.

November 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCC

Your post made me cry. I don't understand how grown adults can be so cruel. Sure explains why so many children are being bullied these days though - with role models like that.

Your son is so beautiful. I see him and I will make sure my children see him and others like him too.

November 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKrista

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by enderFP, enderFP, SthrnFairytale, Mr Lady, Tanis Miller and others. Tanis Miller said: Halloween taught me my son has a super power. Funny, I'm not thrilled about this. New post up. http://bit.ly/d1H3zk [...]

Tears in my eyes. Nicely done and message received. Hope everyone reads this.

November 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterletitia

I'm smiling at him right now and I wish he could see it.

November 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersamantha jo campen

how could you miss him?!?!?!?!

I think Jumby is beautiful! he is just too cute!

November 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSteffanie

People, especially adults, are general douche bags. Actually they are something below douche bags since those touch our amazing vaginas. They are more like anal suppositories. Yeah, that.

What I really wanted to tell you though is that I love his hair. He should wear it like that every day.

November 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMegan D

Those folks live in a sad, discolored, visionless world.

I'm happy to see his bright, shining face in this world. May today be as sweet as the candy he deserves.

November 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPam

This made me simultaneously cry and want to come to your house and give Jumby a giant hug and a giant bucket of candy.

Oh Tanis. This broke my heart into thousands of tiny pieces.

I see Jumby. And his SuperWoman of a mom. She is using her super powers for good.

xoxo

November 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHeadless Mom

Beautiful. It broke my heart reading this. And if I've ever been guilty of overlooking someone in this way, I feel truly ashamed for it.

November 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTristan Cuschieri

He is not invisible - especially not with that awesome hair do! I'm sorry you dealt with some real assholes... too bad you aren't my neighbor, not only would we gave him candy, my dog would have gave him some love!

November 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJen M

It's frightening to look at something we don't want to see in ourselves... our own failings, inadequacies, inabilities. But once you look, you only see the light and the goodness shining out. And suddenly it's not frightening at all. Because it's seen in love.

November 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWinn

I'm weeping but I'm smiling at him.

Beautiful, Tanis. Beautiful

November 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterpamela @vampiresmitten

I have read your blog for about a year, and this post made me so angry. How dare people act like that towards a child, any child. You give Jumby a big huge hug for me and if I could I would send a huge bag of candy to him.

November 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJenn

Tanis, oh man...we didn't have any wheelchair bound kids last night, but there was one in a wagon that I think had some level of disability. We had pulled our outdoor fire thing to the driveway and sat in chairs around it to hand out candy. His mother was able to wheel him right up so we could chat and he could pick out his own candy.

Reading your post, it made me feel a little guilty because my motivation to sit in the driveway around the fire was motivated by laziness (who wants to get up and hold the door open ever darn time). Thanks for shedding some light for me with your experience. We'll be sitting in the driveway every year, come rain, shine, sleet or hail so that everyone has a chance to participate.

Your kids (all 4) are so lucky to have you as their SuperMama.

November 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMS

made me cry a little, its a constant struggle but I encounter the same thing at the place where I work. When we go out people talk to me and whomever I am with, it becomes almost a game of embarrassment. Some waitress will ask "what would so and so like to drink" I reply "Gosh I don;t know, what would you like to drink Carol*" and the waitress blushes and fumbles and well I feel a little smug and a whole lot sad.

Just keep trying and introducing little Jumby to everyone you meet, one day someone will see him and you will cry for a different reason

* not a real name
* Also I should mention that I work with adults, verbal and non verbal (mostly non) but it is much different with kids

November 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCait

This post is gut-wrenching. I'd like to think I would see him. Kneel down with him and give him his candy. I'd like to think I would. But I probably wouldn't. And the realization of that is a really bitter pill to swallow. Thanks for the mirror that we all sometimes need held up in our faces... if not for this situation than for something else.
HM

November 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHamlet's Mistress

I cried. He is so sweet and has Wonder Woman for a mother in his corner. One thing I do need to disagree with and that is his inability to fly. I do believe you accomplished that with his fancy schmancy swing <3

As others have mentioned you blog has opened my eyes to a lot of things: the things I do, the way I react, the words I use. You are a great advocate and an even better teacher. May you and Suuuper JUMBY have a great life.

November 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

I think we had about 40 ankle biters show up in costume looking for candy and none were refused. I wouldn't dream of it! What a nasty, cruel disgusting thing to do. Were those adults not taught manners or shown dignity when they were growing up? Are they so proud of their ignorance and stupidity that they'd ignore a little guy smiling away in his Halloween costume because he needs extra help for his special needs?

Damn! It makes me angry in a tear a chunk out of a jerk's chest kind of anger.

You need to make us a list of adresses of the fools who wouldn't give Knox his candy. We can mail them a card explaining manners, compassion, decency, community spirit and support. Sheesh.

November 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

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