WNY mom has important & emotional message for those who judge, “It is easy to pass judgement when you don’t know the whole story.”

June 12, 2018

Written By

Mary Friona Celani
It’s the sad reality of the world we live in. Sometimes, for no reason, people can be rude, mean, judgmental. It’s not necessary. It’s not right. And it will not be tolerated. A Western New York mother put out a powerful post that should serve as an important reminder.  Here is the post in its entirety.

“Warning – I’m about to go all mama bear in this post. Today I learned from my mom that about a month ago, when she was taking Ethan for a walk around her neighborhood in his stroller, a man walking his dog said something along the lines of “He’s too big for that thing,” after he passed by. My mom, just as much of an advocate for our sweet boy as I am, turned and informed the guy why he was in a stroller. He didn’t respond, and we’re not really even sure if he heard. But I know that if one person had the nerve to say something out loud, dozens of people who don’t know us are thinking similar thoughts – when they see us walking around the neighborhood, amusement parks, the mall, wherever we might use the stroller for Ethan. And so I feel the need to say this for him and for other kids with invisible illnesses and disabilities (and also…for their moms, and dads, and grandparents, and everyone who loves them and would do anything to protect them).

This boy has been through so much in his 7 years – two open heart surgeries, weeks in the hospital, dozens of doctors appointments, hundreds of hours of therapy. When you see him, or another child like him, do not assume that he is a sign of today’s “lazy and entitled” youth, being pushed around in a stroller when his legs are long enough to dangle out the side and touch the ground. Trust me – no parent wants to push their 47 pound school-age child in a stroller. This particular child works hard all day at school and at his PT and OT sessions (which are pretty much the equivalent of you or I going to the gym), and if he wants to experience a walk around the block without being too wiped out to play for the rest of the day…or enjoy a day at an amusement park with his siblings without having to take rest breaks every 5 minutes…I will push him in the stroller!!!

He does not look sick. I know this, and I am grateful for it. We are so blessed that he is doing better now than he was a year ago. But the truth is, he is still not a healthy boy. Last week at his doctors appointment, his oxygen sats were in the 80’s, and we were thrilled! If you or I had oxygen saturations in the 80’s, it’s likely that we would be put on supplemental oxygen. This is how he walks around – every single day.

Okay, so if he’s sick, why not get him a wheelchair instead of pushing him in a stroller? Well, because pediatric wheelchairs are not cheap. And honestly, they’re not all that comfortable. So, as long as he’s comfortable in his jogging stroller, that’s where he’ll ride.

Now, you might say, surely every big kid I see being pushed in a stroller doesn’t have a medical condition. Possibly. But you don’t know. It is easy to pass judgement when you don’t know the whole story. (I am working on this lesson myself in all areas of my life.) But maybe the bigger thing to do, instead of judging, is to give parents the benefit of the doubt. A 7 year old in a stroller is really not the biggest problem facing our society today. But I think we can all agree that self righteous judgement is probably up there in the top 10.”

– Lesley Georger
I asked Lesley about the post – and there’s one thing she wanted me to include in this story. She wants folks to know that she isn’t a perfect mom or human. she understands that not everyone has the same life experiences as she does. She understands that sometimes, without perspective, it’s impossible to know, “Before Ethan, it’s very possible that I would have acted just like that man who commented about his stroller,” Leslie said, “But Ethan has given me the gift of perspective, and I think it’s important to share that with people who haven’t had the experience of loving someone with a disability.”
What an important and necessary post. In today’s world, we should know better. We should know that there are many struggles we can’t see or possibly understand. We should know that others do the best they can. We should know that love is love is love.
Thank you Lesley for reminding all of us why it’s just important to stop judging.



About Me

Welcome to Totally Buffalo! My name is Mary Friona-Celani and I am the creator of this site! After spending 20 years in the Buffalo media, I moved on to focus on my beautiful family. Now, the time has come for a new project. I was ready for something new. Something mine.
I am born and raised in WNY and my pride runs deep. My husband, Scott and I are very happy to be raising our four daughters here.






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