Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

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by Stacy Warden

Special needs parents are no strangers to being members of multitudes of social media groups. 

Some geared specifically for special needs support, advice and information – others just general community groups so that you can kind of keep yourself informed about your own town or city.  

One fine morning, before I had an opportunity to inhale my morning coffee or contemplate how many emails I woudl have about my child’s daily benefit denials, I decided to just take a tour of postings in a local social media group. 

Usually it’s filled with the typical mommy posts of “I’m trying to potty train my nine month old and it’s not going well, can you tell me why?” 

Or “my last hairdresser styled me like a glittery unicorn on steroids and I can you recommend someone else to cut my hair?”…

But this fine morning I had an exceptional reading treat. This was the post:

My neighbor listed his home, for those who are looking!!

To be our neighbor- you must be able to accept flying balls into your backyard and okay with boys jumping the fence to retrieve!

We have a gate to access each other's backyard and in years previous, we would just knock on each other's back doors instead of front..

We tend to hang out in the driveway with neighbors after work while kids play and enjoy a beer or wine..

When I run out of ketchup, I may knock on your door! 

So if you think you can handle us… We would love to have you as neighbors!!

Maybe this kind of post makes you get the warm fuzzy neighborly feelings… but me with a severely disabled child, I’m like oh hell no and oh hell no again.

So in true neighborly spirit I’m providing you all with my written thoughts about how I’d post a “Won’t You Be My Neighbor Plea.”

To be our neighbor you must accept that my son can scream so incredibly loud if I can’t turn on the television fast enough, figure out what his non-verbal needs and wants are and he could disrupt your peace and potentially shatter you windows from his piercing volume.

My house remains on perpetual lock-down, don’t be surprised if you knock twice, five or ten times my door likely won’t open. 

There are no flying balls anywhere near my house since you could hit my unsuspecting child who has no natural reflexes – unless you count the ATNR (the asymmetrical tonic neck reflex) which typically disappears by three months of age that has never gone away for our son.

The doorbell is a foreign sound to me – although it does cause one of our dogs to go ballistic in which I remain calm as a cucumber as I am now numb to it all. 

In years previous, I’d try to wave to neighbors as I passed them on the street on my way to my child’s therapy appointment.  Now I just floor it off the block knowing my polite gestures are just ignored. 

I hang out nowhere – much less in my driveway.

And let's be honest, you’ll never invite my child to play with yours since he cannot walk, talk, crawl or self-feed. 

When I run out of ketchup, I call my mother who is the only one who will ever come to my rescue.

So if you think you can handle us, we’d love to have you as our neighbors!

Happy House Hunting Neighbors!

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