I saw you in the store today and my heart went out to you. I on a rare occasion went food shopping alone and we first bumped into each other in the vinegar /cooking oil aisle. I saw you struggling as you were slowly losing your patience and I wished I could have made the others stop staring. Your son was knocking tuna cans to the floor and I saw an elderly woman shake her head in disapproval. I saw the embarrassment on your face and I wondered how do you do it.
Two aisles later we met again as we scoped out the different flavored coffees. Your son spoke loudly and you tried to hush him. I could tell you were in a hurry, no doubt trying to get through the store as quickly as possible. I had a moment thinking in my head, “Thank God that isn’t me.” I quickly felt selfish for thinking that and instead concentrated on being just thankful.
We ran into each one more time on the checkout line. You were in front of me quickly trying to bag your groceries as your son was having a breakdown. People stared and I noticed your hands shook as you quickly handed the money to the cashier. Your son began to dart for the door and you abandoned your cart to go after him. Once you got back I heard you say,“ You can’t run out of the store like that you can get hit by a car.” I realized how fearful and panicked you must feel on a rather frequent basis.
When we have children we always think of our children as special, however for some that transcends to a whole another level. Special needs children are beautiful, loving, energetic, curious children, but unfortunately are seen as unruly, loud, misbehaving children. What makes matters worse many look onto the parent thinking, how can they let their children carry on like that? Of course there are the children who are truly defiant kids who need to be more obedient. However, sometimes it is not always that evident that a child is acting the way they are because of a social or mental disorder versus poor parenting. I know I have in the past been quick to judge and think, why would a parent let that happen? But today was a gentle reminder of the idea that, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view — until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” – To Kill a Mockingbird – Atticus Finch