I'm no stranger to the stares of adults when they realize my son is different. I'm even less of a stranger to children pointing and asking questions about Bear, it's a natural occurrence. I understand. He's different, unique, we desire to know why. Children especially.
However, today something happened that I was a stranger to.
Today, my son, was called a cripple. My three year old. My flesh and blood, the part of my heart that beats outside of my body and I was dumbfounded.
The whole scene folded out like a freak accident. I just froze. And thought, "Did that really just happen?".
As my sister in law and I perused the aisles of a local thrift store, I got a bit ahead of her while looking at clothing when I noticed a familiar sight.
A little girl no more than 6 years old was pointing at Bear and saying "Look" very quietly to her mother. I smiled at her, Bear smiled at her. We kept going forward.
That's when I heard it, and felt it, like thunder beneath my feet and above my head at the same time.
"He's a cripple."
At first I thought I'd heard wrong. I had to have heard wrong.
What mother uses such a horrid term to describe a disabled child?
How does one teach such hate to her own child instead of using the moment to teach humanity, acceptance, tolerance, or love for fellow people?
"He's a CRIPPLE."
I just kept walking. My heart hurt. My mind was stuck between anger, shock, and sadness. I wanted to hug her daughter and talk to her about my son's disabilities and introduce them. I wanted to turn around and scream at her mother. This stranger, who made me feel such deep emotions. I wanted to slap her across the face.
"HE'S A CRIPPLE."
I did none of those things. I left her ignorance behind me, in the same place she chose to vomit such hate. I kept walking. Grateful for the fact that my child does not know the word "cripple" among other words used to tear others down. Grateful that I have taught and continue to teach my son that differences are beautiful. Grateful that I teach my daughter acceptance, tolerance and above all else, love.
I muttered a " Fuck you, hag!" and told Bear that his light up wheel's are the coolest thing mommy has ever seen, as we continued shopping.
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