Every mother hates to see their child being bullied, especially when that child has gone through an unimaginable amount of hardships. Mary Ann Parisi, an adoptive mother of a premature baby who is now 11 years old, has had to overcome this mothering obstacle on more than one occasion. Instead of allowing the anger at her child’s bullies to take control of her, she decided to use the situation to spread awareness of bullying.
In a Facebook post, Mary Ann detailed the circumstances which shaped her son Michael’s development. In this post she asked readers to share her story in the hopes that people would educate the children in their lives to be sensitive to other children’s disabilities.
Her full, moving open letter to the kids who bullied her son is as follows:
“This might be long-winded. I apologize for that. We all have children in our lives in some way or another, I challenge you to show and teach your children (or the children in your lives) my son’s story. Maybe knowing his background is the difference. Even the best children have moments of insecurity and weakness.
“Teaching and showing them why he (or anybody else) is different might be the more positive way. Sometimes knowing is learning and growing. Sometimes we all need a reminder, because we all can have our moments. Michael was born at 26 weeks. Just over 3 months premature. I am not his bio mom. But in every other way, I am his mother. He spent the first 3 months of his life fighting to survive. Shunts, blood transfusions, etc. His mother left him 3 months later.
“He has survived failure to thrive and numerous other health issues to become the strong, healthy boy he is. He didn’t learn to talk til he was 3 years old. Walking was very delayed. He didn’t have teeth til after his first birthday. He was so very behind. But he loved. Oh how he loved. To this day, his smile is the best thing ever. There is not one person he doesn’t like/love, including those who tormented him today. He forgives and honestly, he forgets, too.
“There is not one judgmental bone in his body. I strive to be more like him daily but fall very short. You called him brace face today, before you were picking on him because of his eating habits. Did you know he physically cannot control the food staying in his mouth?”
“Or how very bad his hand/eye coordination is. Those braces are just one of the many steps he will endure, to help align his lower jaw that never fully developed. So he doesn’t spill his food or chew weirdly anymore— so you won’t pick on him. Kicking his chair, calling him stupid, ugly, brace face, bucky beaver.
“Telling him to sit down and shut up is not the way. You don’t have to like him, but you do have to respect him. He’s a fighter, that’s a very small portion of his story. Share, teach, grow. Most importantly respect those around, you never know what they have been through.”
Let us know in the facebook comments what you think of Michael’s story of resiliency.