“You really love your mama, don’t you?”
That’s what a senior citizen said to my daughter, Lindsay, as we stood in line at the drug store recently to pick up medicine. The woman clearly saw that Lindsay has disabilities; it’s a fact that even small children and dogs pick up on.
The best thing about the comment is that it was directed toward Lindsay and not me. The woman sat in a chair at the pharmacy clutching a cane in her hand, a cane she would need to lean on when she stood up to leave. She saw Lindsay’s shaky balance and that Lindsay’s arm was linked through mine to ensure she wouldn’t fall.
Despite Lindsay’s youth, the woman could see that my daughter needed to lean on me as much as she needed to lean on her cane.
Lindsay responded to the woman by laying her head against my arm–which is one of the things she does to express love. The woman had no idea that Lindsay doesn’t have a big vocabulary and can’t express herself well. Nor did she know that Lindsay has receptive language, which means she understands just about everything anyone says to her.
I was not a part of this “conversation.” This was an exchange between Lindsay and the woman, who treated Lindsay with dignity and intuitively addressed her and not me. There was no need for me to say anything so I didn’t, although I’m sure my smile conveyed my feelings.
It’s a given when we go out in public that some people are going to look at my daughters because they are different–at least in some ways. They’re not different when it comes to feelings and frustrations though, and sometimes they squabble and fight with each other or have a temper tantrum in public, much to my dismay.
I say they’re lucky I have a short memory when it comes to such things, because I always take them out again. I hope for the best because sometimes the best does happen. A few years ago I took the girls to a store by myself, which is practically impossible to do these days because they’ve grown and are almost as big as I am.
On that day Lindsay “pitched a fit” at the Goodwill checkout counter and it was all I could do to keep things under control as the cashier rang up our purchases. Embarrassed, I announced to no in particular that I shouldn’t have brought them to the store in the first place.
“Sure you should!” the man standing in line behind me said in a friendly manner. “You have to get them out.” It was such a relief to hear that and to see a smile and I immediately felt better.
Such generous attitudes and gestures from the man at Goodwill and the woman at the pharmacy don’t come along everyday, but the kindnesses are never forgotten.