We thought that a walk through the mall would be a great way to give Little Man some needed practice walking on two legs. The floors are nice and smooth, the stroller is fun for him to push, and there is always something to look at – perfect.
He did great. By the time we hit the Apple Store he had earned a well deserved break.
It was like any other time in a very crowded Apple Store. Daddy was drooling over the devices, big kids happily playing at the computer stations and Little Man chill’n in the stroller. That is when I noticed the stares. Not the normal “look at the bi-racial family, are those kids adopted?” peeks and then quick looks away. I am talking straight right out starring with looks of complete horror.
Little Man had decided that he had enough. He yanked off his leg and pitched it out the side of the stroller.
If only we had a video camera – I am sure we would be the proud $10,000 winners of this seasons AFV.
The folks around us were sure some grave accident had taken place as they saw a limb of my child fall to the floor. For some it took seconds, for others a few moments, until the looks of relief, giggles, and yes even a few frowns of disdain followed. It’s not every day you see a leg flying!
We walked away from the apple store with a leg in the bottom of our stroller. I am sure a few folks turned to look twice at that as well! 😉
The adjustments of adding Little Man to our family actually have been quite few. Like any additional child our family has had to rearrange ourselves to accommodate our added blessing, but it has been easier than I ever thought it could be. We enjoy the funny moments that have been added to our lives like running around the house before church yelling – “where is your brother’s leg?” It makes the kids crack up every time!
The part that I am not sure I will ever get used to….the folks who choose a look of disdain rather than laughing with us.
In China I expected prejudice against those with disabilities and visual differences. But this is the United States, where the underdog can make it. Here all are equal. If you pull yourself up by your boot straps you are applauded and the News stations swarm in for the good story of a man without legs who has made it to the Olympics. But in real life – at the park – my son is called “a freak” by the children who never have been exposed to someone who isn’t deemed “perfect” and doesn’t look like them. I actually can forgive the children easily. My fury rises up as the parents shrug a shoulder and say, “oh she has never seen anything like that before.” Caught off guard they don’t know what to say.
A leg overboard in the apple store…..hilarious as I watched the faces of people in an unguarded moment confronted with something they have never seen before. It will be a memory our family laughs over for years to come. But it also gave us pause. We have begun to think of a deeper issue that lays dormant in the hearts of many.
What does a teacher really think when he or she discovers after months that a child who they thought was “normal” turns out to be adopted? When a prosthetic leg falls off at a soccer game will the other families act out in shock? What would my child say at the park? Is freak in their vocabulary?
Our little Man is like any two year old. He makes a motor sound every time he says the word car; he is obsessed with Big Bird and Cookie Monster; he grunts when he says the word poop and makes a big smacking sound when he declares, “bye, bye LOVE YOU!” I hope people slow down and look twice rather than making judgements based on our family’s story or his limbs.