Because she didn’t want any special treatment from her coworkers, to allow them to make excuse for her lacking in performance from work, that’s why she’d kept her special needs child a secret, and now, her coworker knows, but, they’re, together on the same page, and will offer one another the support they are in need of at work, and in life as well now, translated…
Finally came, that long, awaited sun on the weekends, my husband called out to me to gather the items of a picnic, took the kids, we drove to a park in the suburbs. The park was at the foot of that mountain, with a lot of acreage, with a parking lot; the plants there were, kept well, it’s a great place, and it’d been one of our favorite, sites to visit regularly. What’s more amazing was, taking a few turns in the park, there was that quiet corner, with the shades from the trees, the grasses so green, it’s a best place to relax, our, “laziness headquarters”. And yet, someone had already taken up the spot before we’d arrived there, and before we headed to find another place, the kids ran ahead, told us they wanted to see if the treasures they’d buried were still there.
illustration from UDN.com
There was a couple, underneath the tree, with their two children, the boy, about seven or eight, kicking a ball around close by. There was a three, or four year old little girl, with her arms wrapped around her mom’s neck, facing me, with that look of innocence, she’s a Downs’s Syndrome baby. I’d squinted at her, waved at her to say hello, she’d started, grinning ear to ear, then, she looked embarrassed, buried her head in her mother’s chest, with her daughter’s gaze, the mother turned her head, and, as soon as we were eye-to-eye, I saw her smile froze, there was that scent of, hesitation, then, immediately, she’d, called out, my name.
Jen and I worked for the same foreign trade company from before, last year, she was hired from another firm, because she was assertive, and can really work very hard, agile in her interpersonal skills, she’d immediately earned the trust of the owner of the company, and I’d heard, that she’d been put up for a higher up position that was available, she’d, had a smooth sail to the top in her work. Although we’d not really friends from work, but, we were, both mothers, and exchanged the means of childrearing in the breakroom every now and then, but I’d never heard her mentions of a daughter with Downs’s Syndrome. My husband and I walked to the corner opposite, set up the matting for the picnic, and started carrying on in conversation, then, my app started chiming, “Glad to see you by chance, I was wondering, can you keep the secret of my family to yourself?”, I’d felt surprised, I’d originally not planned to tell anyone, but, there’s no shame in having a Downs’s baby, so why would she need to hide it?
On Monday at lunch, she’d asked me to join her. “You can tell, that my daughter is a Downs’s baby”. I’d nodded, before I wanted to tell her that she didn’t need to explain it to me, she’d immediately carried on, “I’m not ashamed of her, I just hope…………”, she’d paused a bit, “to be treated on equal basis at work is all.”
As a mother, I’d understood the hardships of how working women needed balance the home and work. I’d once stalled my plans to go abroad for the seminars because I got pregnant, and had had to take myself out of a meeting, because my child had an accident; not to mention how many chances of promotions I’d passed up, because I can’t put in the promised two-hundred percent mind. “She has to go home to take care of her children”———maybe it was out of kindness, or maybe, my coworkers’ unnoted calculating means, in the workplace where it’s like going to war, this label became so hard and heavy, although it’d given me the time to be with my young, but, it’d, cast out all of my opportunities for advancements at work too.
And, at that moment, I’d understood, as a mother of a special needs child, all of these hardships, may not just have been multiplied, but, all of her dreams, all the visions she wanted for herself, and all she wanted, was to be, treated, equally like any other working woman. I’d, extended my arms toward her hands that were, in knots, I’d given her an understanding smile, and that meal that we’d shared was, joyous, wonderful, and, nothing else needed to be, said.
And so, this is the hardships of being a mother to a special needs child, and a worker too, you have to keep the fact that your child is special needs a “secret”, because you don’t want any special treatments from work, you do NOT want others to define you based off of your role of a mother of a special needs child, and the writer’s understanding shown toward her coworker, is much appreciated.