This Exit, No Return
A Reader’s Theatre, By Joy Cowdery continued...
Beth Ann: I just want to say to all teachers: “As parents, we did not choose to have children with disabilities. As teachers, you chose your profession and as such, chose to teach all children. When you have a bad day at school, remember, you go home at the end of the day and weekends. When I have a bad day at home, I can’t call you to come and pick him up. So try to remember to work with me, not against me.”
Jill: I did not choose this bumpy road, nor at times do I enjoy it. I have even cursed God too many times to count. If I could make my son understand just one thing, this is what I would say to him, “You are my son and you are not disabled, but differently-abled. At the end of the day when I peek in on you and I hear your soft breathing and smell your sweet smell as I inhale deeply and thank God for giving me such a complete child who is closer to Him than any other person I know. You are a gift. I have never looked in another human being’s eyes but yours and seen nothing but innocence and pure love.” For everyone else, don’t pity my son. Help me celebrate the truly magnificent child he is and the wonderful adult he will become. One of my favorite sayings is this, “I thought I would have to teach my son about the world, it turns out I have to teach the world about my son. They see a boy who doesn’t speak, I see a miracle who doesn’t need words.”
Karen: All in all, things have a way of working out in the end, maybe not just the way I wanted the road to go or as quickly as I hoped to get there. In life, you just have to accept that there are some things you can change and some you have absolutely no control over. Just knowing I have done my best and fought for my son, I have peace with myself. Yeah, some- times I smile.
This play is dedicated to The Washington County Board of Developmental Disabilities. A special thanks to Ms. Ginger O’Conner, Director of Early Childhood Therapy. A thank you and recognition of the strength of the parent participants who loaned their feelings and voice to this project: Jill, Karen, Beth Ann and others who wish to remain anonymous.
About the author: Joy Cowdery is an Associate Professorand Chair of Education at MuskingumCollege in New Concord, Ohio. Sheholds an Ed.D. in EducationalLeadership/Critical Pedagogy and anMA in Communication from WestVirginia University and a BA in English,