Spread the Word To End the Word

These are my children:

One of them is different than the others. I'll give you a hint:

Clearly the Jumbster is younger than his siblings and obviously much more hip. I mean, just look at the boy's shoes.

And unlike his siblings, he already owns his own set of wheels:

This is a boy who clearly knows how to party:

How many people do you know who can rock wearing a balloon on their head?

My son believes in dental hygiene and practical jokes. Which is why he actively seeks out his older brother's leg just so he can gnaw on it. I'm pretty sure he's using Frac's leg hair as dental floss.

This boy is patriotic:

But he's no jack ass whisperer.

And like all good boys, he's clearly a momma's boy:

He's all of these things, and more. He wears more labels around his neck than most people wear in a lifetime. He is all of those labels, those random tags pinned onto him to help other's identify and deal with his uniqueness and he is more. Strip away all the medical and legal jargon and maybe you'll see my son the way we do.

There is one label, however, that my son refuses to claim.

Jumby is many things, but he is not, RETARDED.

He is not the butt of your jokes, he is not what you mean when you accidentally or casually toss the 'retarded' word around.

I've written about why using the r-word hurts and demeans not only my child but everyone. I've explained why this word, this slang that is so often accepted and ignored is wrong. I'll keep writing about it, banging away on my little keyboard, hoping one more person takes the time to read my words and see the world filtered through my family's eyes.

Through Jumby's eyes.

I hope you'll re-read those words today. And then I hope for one small moment you will put yourself in the shoes of a boy who was born at 24 weeks because his birth mother was high on crack. Wear the shoes of the boy who spent five months in a hospital after birth just struggling to survive. Take a few steps in those shoes of a boy who was shaken when he was six months old. And then walk another couple steps for the time he was violently assaulted, smothered and shaken again before he turned two.

There is a reason my son is blind, deaf and in a wheelchair. There is a reason he will never be like you or like me.

My son is many things.

But he's not retarded.

Spread the word to end the word.

Peace out peeps.