But, this post is not about my kids and having fun at the pool. I wanted to talk about someone who I met at the pool. Towards the end of the day, another mom came to the pool with her two kids. I immediately recognized who she and her kids were. Their family sat at the same table as ours during the holiday party for all the families with Special Needs at Travis Air Force Base. We spoke a little and made short introductions. She told me at the time that their son was autistic and I shared that Lillian has Down syndrome.
Well, today was the first time since then that I had seen them. Looking at her son, he looks like a typical 8 year old. But when you see him behave and act out you know that he's not a typical 8 year old. At least, I knew that. She and I spoke some more today and I learned that he also has some mental retardation. And I was OK with it, because Lillian too has mental retardation. But seeing this mom in action made me think of all the time and work she has invested in her son to be in the place that he is in now. The discipline and I'm pretty sure a lot of tears.
I can't imagine that it's easy for her. I mean, raising a child with any type of disability isn't easy. But the part that I was thinking that could be the hardest are the stares from other parents. Those parents and people who don't know her situation like I do. Those people who see this boy, that looks just like their son, daughter, or grandchild, act out and throw fits, yells and runs off. What are they thinking? She said that people just stare, and we both know what they're thinking...they are thinking "Get a grip of your child". When in fact, this is her child and this is what he does.
Lillian's disability if visible. She hasn't thrown a fit out in public yet, but when she does, will people stare because of her disability, because she is throwing a fit, or both? I guess really, who's shoes would you rather be in, mine or hers? Or is it even a fair comparison?
Just some things to ponder about.