Well, that changed!
I’m replaying one of my more popular posts on Acceptance for two reasons. One, when we talk about acceptance of disability, we tend to gloss over body image and how much that is a factor when a physical disability is involved. We need to bring that more into the light in order to feel empowered.
And two, I have a realistic update on how “Mommy’s Slobber” is being received by my son.
Three years ago, my sweet boy actually said he loved my slobber. In my house, this is what we affectionately call my drool.
Yes, drool. Something that embarrassed me for years and I held onto some shame about it. Drool, always a component of CP for me.
Drool, drool, drool. I figure if I say it enough, we’ll all become desensitized to it.
Still with me?
Three years ago I was getting my son dressed one morning when the typical string of saliva fell from my mouth.
“I Love Mommy’s Slobber!”
My boy melted my heart with his response.
I paused and thought, I must have become comfortable with this aspect of living with CP that took me so hard to accept, if my little boy can respond to my drool this way.
I tend to drool when my body forgets to swallow. This tends to happen when I am either tired, in a hurry, too busy talking to remember to swallow, or sometimes, for no reason at all, like the morning I was dressing my son.
I struggled for years with the embarrassment and shame associated with this facet of my body. Being a teen and young adult who drooled, I chastised myself for doing so, even when I knew it was a result of motor difficulty and management.
I would tell myself I was a grown woman and I just should not be doing that anymore. I was ignoring the fact that I am a grown woman with CP and these things just happen at times.
When I was in my teens, the reaction of my peers was not exactly encouraging to acceptance of my drooling. In high school the boys would laugh at me, and in college I had a friend (who’s still a good friend of mine) say “Ewww!” almost anytime I drooled.
Responses such as these were not helpful in accepting this reality of my life. Even when others have given a supportive response to my drooling, I have felt the shame.
One of my more embarrassing moments was one morning when my roommate asked me if she should wear this certain dress to work and I leaned over it to take a closer look and drooled all over it. I was much too embarrassed to even admit that I was, but she handled the incident very gracefully.
What’s crucial to remember, though, is that such a simple act as drooling should never be given the power to curtail one’s magnificence. Very few things or people in life should have that kind of power.
Like all aspects of beauty, it took time for me to realize that the true problem was not in my drooling. It was the perpetuated and unspoken rule that drooling diminished one’s beauty. It is one of those societal myths that I took on, to have it brought to light and transformed.
The fact that you might be at the beginning of a sentence, open your mouth, and have a string of saliva come out does not in any way detract from your loveliness and beauty.
If you drool or have someone in your life who does, here are three helpful ways to accept the slobber :
- The Casual Response: “Oops, there I go again.” And keep preceding with what you’re doing. Grab a tissue, if needed, but don’t make a big deal about it because it’s not.
- Humorous Response: “Anything need watering around here?” And wink, never forget the power of humor.
- No Response, Don’t say anything. It’s a natural part of life. Continue on, reminding yourself that drooling is part of what makes you uniquely you. By doing so, you “integrate” drooling onto life.
Now for that realistic update on how “Mommy’s Slobber” is being received by my son. At age six, he now replies “Ewww!”
Yep,just like my friend at school. I see it as a “developmentally appropriate” response And a twinge of sadness as I witness once again how quickly we lose as that innate wisdom we are born with of being able to naturally access differences in one another.
At least with my boy I have the opportunity to remind him of that wisdom everyday and that it doesn’t leave us,just stays a bit dormant.
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