To the Super-Heroes at the Grocery Store

To Anyone with a visible physical disability my family may have run across in the last six months:

I need to tell you I am sorry. It isn’t that I am attempting to raise a rude child. It is simply that I am attempting to raise a curious and insightful child who just happens to be generally exuberant and very, very loud. We are currently in the narration stage of life. It is hilarious, insightful, and often embarrassing. Like when Juliet started  referring to ample cleavage as “you butt in you chest” or started staking out clear lines between mommys and grandmas and some lovely ladies at the grocery store disagreed about which side of the line they fell on. “No, she a GRANDMA!”

Recently, my lovely three-year-old has been noticing the different ways in which people get around. While she is okay with the walking we do at our house , she is truly fascinated by anyone who uses crutches, a wheelchair, or any other device to get from here to there. You see, Juliet has been watching a lot of Marvel comics with her dad.  She has seen people who don’t just walk. Those are the people who save the world.

So when a lovely women walks into Target and her gait is perfectly timed not just with her feet but also with the crutches attached to her arm, my lovely girl notices. Loudly.

“Mom! look at that lady! She walking with her ARMS! She got more legs! She a SPIDER LADY! Mom! Did you see the SPIDER LADY!”

It doesn’t matter how quickly I start telling her that isn’t it neat that all kinds of people walk in all different ways. Even if I incessantly shush her, she will not be deterred. She saw the coolest thing there is to see all day, and she is darned if I am going to miss it.

And when I take a moment to think about it. Isn’t she right? It is super cool that my friend at work can get anywhere I can with purely the power in her arms. It is amazing that the lady at the Target can manage to co-ordinate her arms and her legs into an intricate dance that gets her across the floor without tripping. I mean, I can’t often manage that with just my feet.

So to the Super-Heroes at the grocery store. We salute you, and we are impressed with you. And I am just sorry she is so incredibly loud about the whole thing. That is surely my fault.

The proud and red-faced mom.

11 thoughts on “To the Super-Heroes at the Grocery Store

  1. My husband gets around using an electric wheel chair and loves kids because they say what they’re thinking and ask questions. He loves it!

  2. I live on both sides of this one, with a loud 3-year-old, a 5-year-old, and a 7-year-old on wheels. It’s a tight rope, and I never do mind curious questions from kids who are obviously being taught empathy alongside curiosity. At the end of the day it’s not just about observing, but observing with the eye of empathy.
    I’ll never forget the day my M told a lady to her face that she was “too big.” It was then that I dug into Clay Trumbull’s book on training kids and found the advice to teach them that no questions are off limits, but some are best steered toward private conversations. This has helped me tremendously in training little tongues and curious minds.
    In the past we did have some kids ask very insensitive questions TO my son about his brain damage (he has no intellectual impairment), his being born that way (he wasn’t) etc.
    On the other hand I LOVE it when they marvel at his chair and equipment…and so does my boy! In the end, we can be a sensitive group, but as long as someone is looking at the humanity, the shared humanity/connections, and/or the super powers, it’s all good!

  3. When my daughter was a toddler my wife took her to the grocery store and on the way got behind a slow driver. My wife frustrated said…. “Come on Grandpa!” In the grocery store my daughter Jessi in the cart when my wife comes up behind another shopper who is not moving very fast…. My daughter pipes up….. “Come on Grandpa!”

  4. In your girls’ defense, I have a hard time not staring myself when I see someone with a high-tech prosthetic, because they’re just so. cool.

    And I think I’d have a hard time not ending up crying from laughter if some little girl referred to my (ample) cleavage as my “chest butt”. That’s just an awesome term.

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