It was just the two of us on one of our errands before we had to pick up big sister from school. We made it to the store. I parked the car and got us out. I put you on the ground and we walked side by side holding hands. You love walking by yourself along my side because you’re a big girl now and that’s what big girls do. You were waving at every single person who walked passed us because that’s what you do. You greet strangers with hellos and smiles. You wave your perfect tiny little hand at them and all you expect and want is a small wave back or a little smile and it makes you happy. I can see that it makes you happy, even proud of yourself.
We didn’t even make it inside the store when you started waving hello to strangers getting back into their cars. When along comes a man. You spot him and begin to wave at him and you say “hi”. He looks at you and you’re still waving hello and saying hi expecting a friendly face to say it back. You look up at me for approval and I smile at you and tell you how nice and “good job baby” and then I look up and smile at the man.
But…. he doesn’t smile back. He doesn’t wave back. He doesn’t really acknowledge you. All he does is stare at you.. he stares at you while you’re smiling and waving hello to him. He still stares at you while we’re walking past him. And as we walk past each other he moves his eyes away from you and onto me. He held eye contact with me until he couldn’t anymore. Still no smile. No emotion really. Just a blank empty killer stare that left me with sadness as he walked away and never gave us second thought.
All I could think during that brief interaction was “please. Just wave back.” “Just wave.” “Say hello.” And when he didn’t, I felt my heart get crushed. I felt little, guilty, sad and angry.
This will not be the last time something like this happens, I know it. I know my girl is different but that doesn’t make her any less. That doesn’t give you a reason to feel bad for us. To look down on her. Her differences do not make her a problem. The way she looks or speaks does not give you permission to feel like you are better than her, like you belong above her.
She’s beautiful. She’s smart. She’s funny. She’s colorful, she’s happiness and light. She’s love and all that is good in my life…
How could you look at my baby and not smile? How could you look at her face and see anything but perfection?
I look at Ariana’s face all the time and just can not believe how lucky and blessed and fortunate I am to have such beauty be mine. How could you not see that beauty? How could you not see how happy she has made us? How could you not see how better she has made us?
You stare at us and feel sorry for us. You pity our life and our situation without even knowing it. I felt it in your stare. I saw it in your face.
You don’t know how great she has made my life. And how amazing she is. You don’t understand how much love we have at home for her, And how much she means to not only her parents but her entire family. She’s the greatest blessing in my life and you didn’t even give her a chance.