My flower friend
Ahhh, a fresh color. Getting away to get my hair done is a real process, people. But yesterday I managed to squeeze my way into an appointment and it left me feeling like a new woman. Mama needed that refresher and head massage. After my hair make-over I popped over to Trader Joe's to grab a boquet of fresh flowers for baby sister's college graduation. For the first time in a while I was kid-free roaming isles of a grocery store AND my roots weren't half way down my face. What a luxury. As I made my way to the flowers, I noticed a darling woman with Down syndrome, also flower shopping. I watched her for a few minutes as she smelled each bouquet. She was well dressed, her purple purse slung over one shoulder and she held herself with confidence and grace. I tried not to sound creepy (to her or the fellow flower shoppers) as I asked her what her name was. She smiled and told me in a cheery voice. I proceeded to ask her who she was flower shopping for. Her mother, she told me, for Mother's Day. She then asked me who I was getting flowers for. I told her, "baby sister" and asked for her help picking red ones since that was the school's color. She said she would help me, but asked that I maybe consider pink flowers since pink is a better color. She eventually approved some red ones and then went to look for her mother whom she was buying the flowers for. What a darling.
We made our way to the cashier at the same time. Her mom stood back behind me and watched her daughter independently check out on her own. I could tell this was their routine. Her daughter (whom I found out from briefly chatting with her mom) is 30 years old and likes to be very self sufficient. When her debit card didn't work, mom walked around me to help. Daughter seemed very bothered that she wasn't able to do it on her own. She did all the right steps, followed the prompts, entering her pin number last and "beep"... The error message kept popping up. Her mom explained that they needed to call the bank and helped her search through her pink wallet for her own cash. The disappointment was very clear from her facial expressions. She looked at me in line behind her, appologized for taking too long, then said, "I'm so dumb".... My heart broke into a million little pieces. I quickly corrected her, telling her it was the banks fault just as her mother had said. She said it again, "I'm so dumb" as her mom handed the cash to the cashier for her. "No you are not! You are very smart!" her mother said. It was clear that she had an extremely loving mom who wouldn't ever call her her such terrible things. But someone else had. Why else would she say that? My head began spinning. What if someone makes Welles believe he's dumb? What if someone so much as calls Welles names? Him being picked on has always been in the back of my mind. But seeing this bright, lovely and beautiful individual call herself dumb and actually believe it, just reminded me of how aware of bullying I am going to have to be. I truly believe that most kids are loving and kind to those with special needs, but there will likely be a few in his life to make him feel less than adequate. Heaven help those bullies...
I went to my car very weepy. It surprised me how upset this little episode made me feel. Here's to hoping that we moms can counteract the negitivity out there. Here's to hoping we can make our children, special needs or not, know of their self-worth. I was comforted on my drive home, thinking back to the way her mother treated her. She spoke with a softness but chastened her with firmness. Clearly she only approved of her daughter talking kindly about herself. And that girl knew she was loved. After the flowers were paid in full, she smiled and waved good-bye, then grabbed her mom's hand holding it out to the parking lot. I can't wait for Welles to hold my hand into his 30's!