Monday, January 7, 2013

The Rules of Staring

Finally this weekend I was able to get Sara out of the house!  We didn't go anywhere exciting by most people's standards, but for us it was awesome!  We went to the store and did some grocery shopping, and then drove through the bank drive-up.

Sara was so excited to be out in the sun.  It was pretty cold out, but she still rolled her window down a little and enjoyed the fresh air and breeze (until she got cold).  I was excited too.  Its hard being stuck at home all day every day, never able to leave.  I don't know how people do it!

Of course, there were rough moments since it was our first outing in the cast, but overall it went well and we had a good time.

And like all of us with children who's special needs show on the outside, there are the looks.  And it was particularly bad this time.  Maybe I'm more sensitive because I know she's different, and I'm still getting used to it to.  I don't know, but man, people LOVE to stare!

My niece was with us because she'd come for a sleepover the night before!  The girls had a great time, and it was a good distraction for Sara.  Since I needed to push the cart, my niece pushed Sara around in her chair, and did an excellent job.  But as we are standing in the checkout line, she says to me that this woman won't stop staring at her.  And in my casual, not at all trying to hide what I'm saying voice, I tell her that some people just have no manners and insist on staring at anyone who was different.  And that the woman was staring at Sara, not her.

Sara is used to being stared at, and handles it quite well for the most part.  But my niece, not so much.  Typically family get together time is done at somebody's home, so it isn't something she's used to.  She replied she didn't like it and didn't think it was very nice.  I know the woman heard all this because she gave me this nasty look like I was calling her something horrible.  I would have had choice words for her had my niece and daughter not been present.

There is subtle differences in the looks people have when they're staring, and when you've been stared at enough you can tell what they're thinking.  Some people stare with true curiosity about what's going on with Sara, others (most of them) just stare with pity assuming her life is awful, but this woman stared with that look of how dare I bring a "defective child" into the world.  And because I did, I'm obviously a horrible person.

What gives her the right to judge my daughter, and the value of her life?!?  She knows nothing about us, who we are, and what we've been through to get here.  And honestly, I feel pity for her.  It must be awful to live with a belief system that leads you to think that some people are better than others.  I'll be the first to admit that I don't agree or like the way some people on this planet choose to live, but that's not for me to judge.  If it makes them happy (and they aren't hurting anyone else to do it), then so be it.  Just don't tell me about it or try to engage me in it.

I know its hard not to stare at something you're not used to.  I still catch myself doing it from time to time.  Its human nature!  But if you're going to stare, than be prepared for what might happen next.  You can't expect to stare at someone and there be no consequences, good or bad.  Like everything else in life, there are consequences for the choices we make, and sometimes they aren't at all what we want.


  1. Anytime we get stares I just ask, "Do you have any questions? Is something wrong?"

    Have you received a card yet from us?

  2. Just ask Jack. He told a man at Kmart and a man at Lowes that his friend's wheelchair was "Way cooler than theirs".

    He also walked up to the man at Lowes and said, "Mister, can I ask you why you have to be in a wheelchair?" Nearly in tears, this man answered every question my little man had. After Jack wished him a great day he said, "He is the first child in my entire life to just ask the questions. Thank you". Apparently, I need to teach classes on how to raise amazing children...because my little boy tells everyone they need light up wheels! ;) Love you.