Those looks...the stares...
We've all experienced them. We're out in the community - that place where all the 'experts' say we need to take our children with disabilities - that place we WANT to take them and WANT them to feel comfortable. But the stares of strangers make both our children and us very uncomfortable, sometimes almost belligerent. I've tried several approaches myself to dealing with the stares - smiling back, asking if the offender has any questions, even the angry stare right back - but it usually makes no difference.
There are looks, however, that warm my heart and tell me everything is just fine.
It happened several times over Winter break. It happened just yesterday as I was shopping at a big box store.
Another parent or family member or person with a disability passed us in the community and their look said, "I understand. I know it is difficult. It is for me too. I understand the rudeness and your ensuing sadness or anger. These people who stare have no idea, no concept of what our lives are like, and they are unwilling to try to understand. In there eyes, we are not worthy of anything more than a rude stare. But they are wrong, and you know it. Your child, your family, your loved one is beautiful and a blessing. Rise above the stares. Keep smiling that knowing smile, the one that says we are the lucky ones, we are the ones whose life, though difficult, is also very rich. We know...We understand...We appreciate your worth and all you do."
And all that is spoken through a few seconds glance and a knowing smile.
And it makes my day.