Carolyn, fellow crafter and friend, called me today and asked if I wrote to Dear Abby. I said, "Uh yeeees, but several months ago, why?" She said a letter signed "CT in Hawaii" appeared the other day. I was puzzled because I read the paper every morning and hadn't seen my letter.
A few months ago I wrote to Dear Abby via the internet (of course) regarding my thoughts about Jordan's loneliness. How, because on Kauai we're somewhat isolated from our families, she doesn't get to socialize much outside of school or Special Olympics. The only people (beyond the Special Needs circle)that ever showed any sensitivity to her feelings were two of my cousins on Oahu who would take her with their daughters (younger than she) to various "girl" activities. This occurred maybe a half dozen times and were very appreciated by Jordan. (Thanks Pat and Iris!)
It's not that it's anyone's duty to empathize with Jordan's situation. If anyone's to blame perhaps it's me because I'm a happy hermit, not the most social person. We don't attend church or belong to clubs so that also limits our social circle. We were, however, conscientious about involving Jordan in various activities (piano, karate, bon dance, etc.) so she's a very well-rounded and interesting young lady, but in retrospect I wish I had involved her in something more social like the Girl Scouts.
My letter expressed the hope that if any teen or pre-teen girl or boy wanted to do a kind deed, they should try to reach out to a special needs student. I understand that young people are very egocentric and not empathetic, but many are kindhearted and perhaps only need a nudge. If so, and if my letter resulted in just one lonely handicapped girl getting invited to a birthday party, then great!
So that was the letter I had in mind as I looked through the past two weeks' newspapers in search of every Dear Abby column. Nope, not there. Finally after looking through them the third time, I found my letter and it was NOT "that" letter after all! The reason I had a difficult time finding it was because it was a short letter I had forgotten about (SEE "Age-Activated Attention Deficit Disorder" BLOG POST BELOW!!) in which I replied to someone else's letter which bemoaned the fact that she did not have grandkids.
"Nobody's Grandma" was disappointed because both of her adult children told her they do not intend to have children. Many readers responded to her letter, including myself. My short letter said in effect that I can understand her feelings because it is highly unlikely that I will ever be a grandparent either since Jordan is my only child and is developmentally disabled. I went on to say I do feel bitter at times, but learned to appreciate what I have and what I can't change. I'm still wondering if that was an edited version, because I find it hard to believe that I would be that short-winded *LOL* I most likely included this little story:
One day while shopping at Long's, I met up with a former coworker whom I hadn't seen in years (Kauai is bigger than you think!). She asked if I wasn't a grandma yet (she didn't know Jordan). Of course I said quickly, "Oh no, we'll probably never have grandkids," feeling that familiar sadness. "Jordan is like our grandchild," I joked. At that moment, though, I had an epiphany. Although I had been joking, Jordan really IS as good as having a grandchild. She is twenty now and maturing still, but yet is so delightful, funny, sweet, and affectionate that certainly she can play the dual role of daughter and granddaughter. Not to mention that just based on her looks, many people mistake her for 12 years old. Since that day, I don't feel like I'm missing out as much as I did before!
Ok, maybe I WILL be missing that wonderful "baby smell". On the other hand, I won't have to deal with OTHER baby smell, crayoned walls, torn up books, or spilled milk. *LOL*