Advocacy and the Elevator Ride

We were in the elevator, the first step in our trek to make our way back home after Parker’s doctor appointment.   Me, the Brave Hero, and the Brave Hero’s truck, er stroller with oxygen bottle off to the side.

At the last minute a Dad and his little girl race to squish in.  The Dad smiles at me and then looks down at Parker.  As the elevator door closes, the Dad glances back up at me then quickly redirects his attention to what must have been a very interesting spot on the floor.

You know that funny in the tummy feeling you sometimes get when an elevator begins it’s journey?   We wait for it with great anticipation.  Parker loves that funny feeling.  I love Parker’s giggles and squeals of glee that announce our elevator has indeed left the launch pad.

The little girl shyly smiles at Parker and then looks up at her Dad who tries to pull her still further away from the kid in the special needs stroller.

The Father then turns his attention to a new spot, located this time at the back  of our ride.

Our elevator lands and Parker blows kisses to everyone.  It’s his way of expressing joy for a safe arrival.

The little girl blows her own silent kiss while I hold the button to keep the doors open and the Father grabs his daughter’s hand in a rush to make his escape.

Our paths cross and intersect as we make our way up and down the hospital corridors.

By now the little girl is offering up a small,  quiet wave each time she sees Parker.

The Father still refuses to meet my eye, even after I deliberately stop to tell him how cute his little girl is.

Part of me understands not knowing what to say when first introduced to a kid with a trach, a straight line of tubing to an oxygen supply, and an obvious extra chromosome.

But another part of me, the Mama that resides deep in my heart, simply refuses, refuses to believe that the unknown and different that is part of our daily life overrides the cute little kid full of such obvious love for life and all those around him.

How hard is it make the choice to look at the smiling face, recognize the excitement; experience the joy that is also a part of our daily life?

I wanted to shake this Father.  Not because he didn’t find my kid cute.  Not because he was uncomfortable by all the different.

But because his daughter took her cue of how to react to Parker from him.  One encouraging word from her elder and this little girl would have jumped into the opportunity of making fast friends with my kid.  She wasn’t uncomfortable with all that accompanies Parker.

She was intrigued.

Curious.

Open.

Willing.

I’d like to ask a favor.  The next time you find yourself in an elevator (or shopping mall,  grocery store, classroom, church activity, etc.) with a kid in a wheelchair, or with an extra chromosome, or ANY kind of different for that matter; look them in the eye and smile.  Maybe even say hello.

And  think of Parker when you do?

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26 Comments

  1. Mandy Jan 20, 10
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