Part of my journey is learning how to keep my mouth shut and allow everyone to experience their own wins and consequences. It has been a useful tool lately dealing with my aging mother and my son with Down syndrome. Despite having experiences of figuring out what works for them, there is a cloud that doesn’t allow me to see a different side. Sometimes I get stuck in “it’s my way or the highway” without really listening to anyone else’s thoughts. My ego says “I’m right. They’re wrong” which means my mouth is engaged and my ears are not. My ego peppered in fear wants me to be right, but doesn’t give a crap if I am happy. Today, I embrace happiness.
When I met with Bailey’s new boss yesterday, I walked in without fear. You see, for twenty-two years, I have teetered on the edge….the person either gets Bailey or I have to educated them. Sometimes my education process was a touch harsh because I get fearful. People must accept him, was my mantra, but the reality is they don’t. Some are uncomfortable around people with disabilities. That is their right. Some change after they are around him and others don’t.
I don’t think his new boss was expecting my delivery. While Bailey was off talking to one of his work friends, this is what I said….”Don’t let him get away with anything. He will try. He is a wonderful worker when directed to stay on task. He can also be an asshole. Don’t tolerate that. Treat him just like any other employee.” His demeanor softened as I think he expected me to give him a spiel that he needs to pamper Bailey and give him special treatment because he has Down syndrome. Well, this mother doesn’t spin that wheel. What I am trying to say, is that I didn’t go into this meeting with my agenda. I went into this meeting to share how my son can be and asked him if he had any questions. I shared that I want an open dialogue and that I want to be a partner in Bailey’s success at his job. My ego was left at the door and I was able to speak, listen, and respond in a very kind and respectful way. That is what I am striving to be on a daily basis with every interaction. In any situation, I can easily be part of the problem. Today, I choose to be part of the solution.