I wish the stories I am about to share were fictional.
A woman I had known for two hours felt that it was appropriate to say in front of my son, “so because of his birth defect his birth parents didn’t want him, right?”
Not twenty minutes later, Little Man and I were walking across a parking lot. We were taking our time enjoying the warm afternoon. He was wearing shorts making his brace and prosthetic visible. A truck slowed down next to us and the driver rolled down his window. (I am not kidding!) “Lady, what is wrong with your son?”
We get into McDonalds to enjoy a mommy and son date. While waiting in line, the woman next to me says, “He has one blue leg and one…..well he is cute anyway.”
Three in a row – in less than an hour.
Many times we are seen as a curiosity, entertainment, weird, or the drastic opposite – super heroes. None are accurate and they make me sad. Yes, our family looks different and our children were born with things that make them unique – but that is the beauty of God’s creativity. I wish that people could see that rather than a limb difference or skin tone.
As mom to this crew, I am learning that I need to educate and advocate for the sake of my family. Some days are harder than others. Sometimes it feels lonely and I just get tired. I don’t want to explain myself or defend my family. I would just like people to “get” us – treat us like any other family.
Thankfully, this is a true story.
I was waiting in line in our small town’s post office. A woman, who knew my husband as a child, introduced herself. I enjoyed the small talk (ahhhh, adult conversation) including fun stories of her life as a swimming instructor. “I would be excited to teach Little Man to swim this summer.” she offered without missing a beat.
Just when you feel exhausted.
I thought I would cry right there in the post-office. She was God’s gift to me. She saw the empty pant-leg and my son’s potential to be just like other kids. Even more she was excited to be a part of his journey and to get to know our family.
What a different afternoon encounter. I am sure she had no idea why tears sprang to my eyes and she wouldn’t be able to understand the value of the gift she had just offered me. It was so much more than swimming lessons. God whispered into my heart and I didn’t feel alone.
Making my own true story.
The deep blessing of being offered swimming lessons shocked me into remembering that simple gestures can make significant impact. So just thinking…how can I be like the swimming instructor and not like the curious truck driver?
Lord, help me today to use my talents, time and money to encourage those around me.
4 thoughts on “True Story”
Tammy, Your children are perfect & I can’t believe people say the things they do. I think i would have told the truck driver nothing is wrong with my son, but I’m not so sure about you. Maybe you need to sign up for manners 101. I love your blog & your children are adorable!
Kelly, that is exactly what I told the man. “nothing is wrong with my son.” I am learning to respond to folks with grace and see that as part of the example our family can set. Not always easy. I really want to make sure our family is sensitive with our words and that we “encourage others rather than tear them down”. It’s a new family phrase!!!
I like to think people innocently say stupid things…but those statements are beyond stupid…what kind of people say things like that?
Bless you Tammy. I love that you told him there is nothing wrong with your son because there isn’t anything wrong with him. Heather was over the other night & I showed her a picture of little man & I think she fell in love. She asked me to send her a link to your blog & I need to do that. She would like to eventually adopt a child, so I’m sure you can give her some good tips when the time comes. I think she’s planning on adopting from here & possibly a little older child. I’ll be thrilled to get any & all grandkids when the time comes. 🙂