What your mother didn’t tell you…

Now, I am sure your mother always meant well but I am guessing that if you ever saw someone with a disability she told you not to stare.

Great advice!

Never stare. Unless it is longingly into the eyes of a loved one or maybe if you spot Tom Hardy when out.

Don’t look! 

Well, it certainly reduces the possibility that staring might happen later.

Don’t ask anything!

Are we expecting a stomach-curdling scary answer? Are we afraid of the answer? No, she probably worried about offending the person.

Move on quickly. Move away so that nothing uncomfortable happens.

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Now look at it from the eyes of the child in the chair, the one who has just been pushed past the play park because there was no point going in. There was no accessible swing or roundabout and the grass was wet and too slippery anyway.

I am sad. I already feel awful. Then I see you.

You look away quickly and you tell your child not to look. Is it because I am too awful to look at? Is there really something so awful about me? You are trying to move your child away from me as quickly as you can because they looked like they wanted to talk to me and you don’t want them to talk to me.

I wish you would smile and talk to me. I want to tell you my name and that I like Minecraft. I want to ask if you have an iPad and if you know where my car is. I love my car.

So did your mother ever tell you what you should say?

If I am looking in your direction at the same time that you happen to look in mine just smile and say hello.

Tell your child to say “hi” and introduce themselves, just like they would if they wandered in to a playground and saw children playing but didn’t know them yet.

Conversation will just continue once it starts.

It is fine to notice my wheelchair. I have spotted it already!

I have cool wheels with Power Rangers on them and I love my chair. It is VERY cool. If you like Power Rangers too, or your brother did it is another part of a typical conversation. Everyday conversation, you can’t beat it.

It was nice to meet you and I hope we will see you again sometime.

See, it is easy once you start. You just made a friend.

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Today I experienced a totally magical moment for a mother.

Magical to me. 

We are very fortunate that we are part of a wonderful community. We took Adam out of school four years ago to give ourselves time to find a new school. Home education just worked and it is the best thing we ever did for Adam. He is happy, learning and has lots of friends.

Back to today.

Today we attended an event with a group of children that we don’t know very well and as we arrived a little girl who we have met before (but only enough to know each other’s name, not any great details of our lives), simply skipped up to Adam and asked if he wanted to play tag.

No preconceptions about whether he could. She just wanted to play with him.

That little girl absolutely made my day and I am sure she will become a lifelong friend.

 

 

 

Petite Pudding

9 thoughts on “What your mother didn’t tell you…

  1. This is a sad and sweet post. I try very hard to not push my kids away from others for any reason. I have one very gregarious child who loves everyone and knows everyone can be a friend. I can only hope she continues to be open and accepting through her entire life. I know I strive to be that way. Thank you for this post. It’s inspiring. Well done.
    #puddinglove
    ~Jess

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  2. Oh this is such a sad but happy post to read. Sad in the fact that this is how my mother brought me up and i think from what i see that is still happening. My youngest asks people directly why they are in a wheelchair while my older one tends not to look. She doesn’t want to stare and upset anyone. I have received different reactions from people when Miss M asks them questions. To be honest I never know if i should encourage her to talk anymore or to just carry on walking past. Thanks for linking up to #puddinglove

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    1. Much like with able bodied people, some folks are happy to chat and some are not.

      Most adults know that children are just inquisitive and it is completely natural for them to ask questions. With us, if a child came up to say hello, introduced themselves and asked a question I would be happy to chat. Generally, once a child has asked and been told that Adam’s muscles don’t work like theirs do, the conversation swiftly moves on to typical conversational things.

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  3. This is a fab post and I like to think that one of my girls would be that little girl that wanted to play tag with your son I’m very proud that they don’t judge and that they will include anyone and everyone. I remember a few years ago sitting on the beach in Bournemouth watching the air show while my girls dug in the sand there was a family next to us and the boy was playing alone my middle daughter got up strolled over and said to this lad – want to help me bury my sister? The lady he was with ( not his mother but his older half sister and legal guardian) started chatting to me and said our girls had made their day – her brother had fetal alcohol syndrome and was always excluded by other children and although he was 13 he had the mental age of 5 which made it even harder because he didn’t understand, it made me feel sad not just for this young lad but for all the children that had rejected him and missed out on a great playmate I have never heard 3 kids that had just met laugh so much and get along so well
    #puddinglove

    Liked by 1 person

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