I never planned on going viral

A long, long time ago…okay, not quite two weeks…I wrote a blog post.  And posted it like I do all my other blog posts, on Facebook and Twitter.  Which maybe, on a good day, would garner me 50 hits.  100 if I’d been quite witty.

But this time, I hit what I guess was blogging gold.  I struck a nerve with many, many people.  Sharing, tech-savvy people, who shared this blog post with many, many others.

So now, not quite two weeks after the blog post being posted?  I suddenly have more cats to herd, in the form of readers and comments.

I am overwhelmed.

Most reactions have been positive.  Many of them have been able to relate, as they walk the walk, and deal with the talk.  Some have decided to play devil’s advocate – which I can actually appreciate.  A few have been rude – which proved that my years of therapy has worked, as I didn’t take it personally.

But I feel like I have to explain a few things.

1 – I never planned on going viral.  That blog post?  Was just a thought in my head one evening, after seeing someone use the word “retarded” inappropriately yet again.  I wasn’t feeling angry or bitter when I wrote it.  Just explaining our side of things.  I never expected it to be read 90+ thousand times within a few days, especially considering before that post, my blog had less than 25,000 views total in its existence.  So forgive any discrepancies – I never imagined it would be so critiqued!   I wasn’t calling for a ban on the word – the word does have a proper definition and usage rights – I was just asking for people to think before speaking.  Which isn’t too much to ask, is it?

2 – my daughter is actually mentally retarded.  There is no shame in that.  There is nothing offensive about that, except how you perceive it. Mental retardation is an actual medical diagnosis still – it’s just not used as much anymore as medical science has been able to put specific labels on conditions.  For instance, thirty years ago or so, many autism cases were diagnosed as MR. Now they know better.  Sadly, medical science is still not advanced enough to explain why my daughter has her issues (cognitive and physical delays, epilepsy, apraxia, hypotonia, strabismus, etc.) despite the extensive testing we’ve done.

3 – I posted how my child doesn’t understand the hurtful use of the word “retarded”.  I was posting this from our own point of view.  However, many people who have developmental disabilities DO understand the hurtful nature of the word “retarded”.  And if they don’t – well, their loved ones sure do.  My three older children are completely aware of any insults hurled at their sister, and it angers and hurts them.  As a parent, there is nothing more hurtful than someone making fun of your child in front of you except watching one of your other kids come off the bus angry and upset because someone made fun of their little sister at school.

4 – I’ve gotten a giggle over some comments saying to the effect that I need to not mourn my loss, that I should accept my daughter for who she is, not let things keep me down, be more positive.  It makes me giggle because if I ever was in any of those places, I left them behind years ago.  Yes, there is a mourning process when your child is first being diagnosed.  In a way, you’re always haunted by the child they could have been. And there will always be a certain degree of worry.

But my daughter is the most amazing creature!  She basically goes through life spreading joy, happiness, hugs, sparkles, rainbows and unicorns.  All while being awesome.  I feel quite lucky that I get to share life with her.

4 – This blog isn’t just about special needs – it’s about our life.  Which includes special needs.  It also includes adjusting to living abroad, trying not to screw up our four kids too much, music, and general babbling.  Which I hope you’ll enjoy!

Finally – at the end of the day, I’m just a woman who’s a wife and mother, who wrote about something that was on her mind one night, and is still amazed at how one little blog post that took me about ten minutes to write has taken off.  I am sincerely grateful to each person who felt it was good enough to share, and thrilled for every new follower.  Thank you!