Thursday, August 29, 2013


When George and I pulled up to the Dollar Store today, I saw a group of young adults get out of a van in walk in. Many of them walked slowly, holding their arms stiffly. One limped. All were dressed for comfort, in easy to pull on clothes. Like any young adults, they talked and laughed among themselves. But I knew. I could tell.

They were different.

Their van bore handicap tags and they seemed to have another adult with them to watch over them.

They were different.

Inside the store, they called each other over the aisles, asking their friends to come look and see what they found.

That's not so different.

When we approached the cash register, a few came up. One asked a friend which drink was the Dr. Pepper and his friend opened the door for him.

That's different. My kids would have held the door shut so the other one couldn't open it!

Without making eye contact, and in a halting voice that indicated it was hard for her to speak, a young lady said to me, "Your son is cute. What is his name?"

"Thank you," I said back. "This is George. George, can you say hello?" George refused, tired and hungry and thirsty.

"Like George of the Jungle!" someone called and I laughed.

"Exactly like George of the Jungle!"

As I was checking out, a young man stepped between me and the young lady. He stood close and said, "Thanksgiving is almost here."

"It is," I agreed and then looked at my son. "George, what happens around Thanksgiving?" I asked and he growled, "My birthday."

"Is that your favorite holiday?" I asked the young man and he nodded.

"Christmas and Thanksgiving."

"That's my favorite time of year," I agreed, before wishing everyone a nice day and stepping out into the hot sun.

They were different.

Yet, not so different.

Not so different from my son.

He speaks so clearly now, so much more clearly than before. We have hope- and we will always have hope- that his Apraxia will resolve. We have hope- we always have hope- that he will grow up, live on his own, hold a job, get married or be a priest.

We will always have hope.

But . . . we don't

See, the young people in the Dollar Store could be my son. Twenty years from now he could be with a group of friends, all who have differing abilities, enjoying a trip to the Dollar Store. I don't know what the future holds for him, anymore than I know what the future holds for my "typical" kids. Still . . . in the halting voices, I heard him. I saw him.

And that was the reason for my interactions, my laughter with them, the reason I encouraged my son to answer their polite questions. To some degree, I know the looks and questions they and their care givers must get in public. I know how it can be. I didn't want to be one of those people.

When we left, my only thought was, "I hope my kids grow up to be as polite and well mannered as they are." And I wished I had gotten the name of the group they were with, so I could tell the other adults how wonderful they are. *

*(And, yes, if this was a group of NT young adults who had a nice conversation with me and my son, I would want to find the other adults in charge, if there was one, how wonderful the kids were. I'm corny like that.)

1 comment:

  1. Did you know before I moved to KS and before kids I worked for awhile with an agency where we taught job skills to adults with disabilities? It was a great program and yes they were really not so different at all, just needed a bit more help than most of us do. The non-profit got contracts for jobs that we took crews to do. It was a win, win as the clients had paying jobs, received paychecks and contributed to society while at the same time learning life skills. George I am certain will be just fine. He is a very sweet and bright boy:)