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(3/3) “I remember saying these horrible things. Just shut up. Just please stop crying for a second. I even had these thoughts about putting her outside. These aren’t good memories to have. But those first years were so dark. There was no respite. No days with grandma. Nobody to tell me: ‘She has a problem and here’s how you get through it.’ We were all on our own. And I acted pretty ugly. There were times when I hated her. There was a lot of yelling. I’d get mad when we didn’t know math today that we knew yesterday. We’d spend hours on every assignment. And then there was the movie thing. I’m not sure if she told you about the movie thing. But every time she felt overwhelmed she’d recite movies word-for-word. And she’d come home with tears on her glasses because the other kids would make fun of her. And I just wanted her to stop. It’s not difficult. Just stop talking to yourself. Everything was so hard, and I wanted it to hurry up. It was so much work. I couldn’t relax. I couldn’t get out of my own head. I was never able to say: ‘Fuck it. We’re not doing this today. You don’t have to improve today. It’s OK for you to be who you are.’ I never got there. But I know I’m forgiven. The Bible doesn’t say that you have to forgive yourself. I know I’m forgiven. And Renee forgives me of course. I’ve apologized so many times. She doesn’t like to see me cry, so she just pats me on the back and says: ‘I know, Mom. I know.’ I just wish I could have known that we’d get here one day. I never thought she’d find her way out. That she’d find her voice. That one day she’d be able to tell me how lonely she felt. And that I could tell her how sorry I am.”

(Special Olympics World Games, Abu Dhabi, UAE)
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