People say we should count our blessings, and I couldn’t agree more, except when those “blessings” spring from the mouths of unwelcome, disrespectful strangers. I don’t know about you, but I can too often recall some truly blessed moments spent with my family out in the community, only to be ruined by a “well-intentioned,” personal-space trespasser imposing him- or herself on our wonderful day just to “bless our poor, imperfect, blessing-deprived child.” My son has not only been intrusively blessed, but he’s also been questioned, pitied, advised, quizzed, patted on the head, and unfailingly, named “Buddy.”
And although I’m ashamed to admit it, every time my son gets “sympathetically accosted,” I’m so shell-shocked and taken aback in that moment, that I can’t think of the right thing to say to diffuse the meddlesome, uninvited “well-wisher.” That is why I’ve decided to arm myself (and hopefully you too) in advance with a few preplanned, “off-the-cuff” responses to some of the all too common space-invading intrusions. Please feel free to adopt any you see fit and together, hopefully those of us who prefer it, will be blessed only when we sneeze.
The next time someone says:
G-d doesn’t give you more than you can handle.
Say, yes but He has been known to push the limits.
Why is your child in a wheelchair?
Respond, because the hospital bed is too hard to steer.
What’s wrong with your child?
Ask to take their name and address, so you can update them as reports come in.
What’s your child’s problem?
Answer, you, she was fine before you showed up.
I’ll pray for you.
Say great, and I’ll pray for you too.
Why is your child like that?
Tell them, karma, because in a past life he asked someone “why is your child like that?”
Does your child understand what I’m saying?
Reply, of course, she just doesn’t understand WHY you’re saying it.
How come he has that chair?
Tell them, that when I went to Florida, a lousy t-shirt wasn't enough to bring back.
Was your child always like this?
Thank them and say, no it took years of practice.
I just had to come over and say hello to one of G-d’s chosen.
Answer, really, was it an uncontrollable impulse, or a voice in your head?
How do you even get yourself out of bed every morning?
Look confused for a minute and say, oh, am I awake? I just thought I was having that annoying dream again where people come up to me and invade my space.
Why does your child need a wheelchair?
Tell them, because unfortunately the wheelsofa never caught on.
Does she speak?
Respond, certainly, but only in a pitch that dogs can hear.
How’s my little Buddy?
Say, I don’t know, why don’t you ask the Skipper from Gilligan's Island?
You’re such a great parent, I could never do what you do.
Quickly answer, try, we’ll pick her up next Tuesday.
What does your child have?
Rudely reply, a loving family and a right to privacy!