Well, somebody thought so tonight.
A woman, whom I have never met started talking to Liam at the ball game tonight.
I had Liam on my hip while we were seated in the bleachers. She grabbed his hand (and I am cringing the entire time she is holding it , thinking she doesn't know about RSV, swine flu, etc.. or she wouldn't do that!) and starts chatting away to him and to me. I honestly couldn't tell you what all she was saying because I was so distracted by thoughts of viruses.
All of a sudden, my attention turns right to her as I hear her say, "Does he have Down's Syndrome?"
WHAT? What did you just ask me??
In the 5 seconds it took me to respond, I had several different scenarios running through my mind.
Do I educate this poor woman and tell her he has CP?
Do I then want to engage in a discussion that will surely follow about his birth?
Do I just say no and ask her what she means by that? Does he look different to you? Because he has glasses does that automatically mean he has a gene disorder?
Do I ask her if she's crazy? How rude can you be? If you are overweight do you assume the woman is pregnant?
I finally decided on the simplest, yet most profound response I could think of.
Um, NO, HE DOESN'T!
She didn't even apologize! She said something about what he was doing and that he reminded her of.... and then she quit talking. I hope she realized she was just digging her hole bigger. But an apology would have gone a long way.
I was upset. Shawn coaches the team so I was alone. And I didn't know any of the parents on my son's ball team this year but I knew one of the mom's on the other team so I headed over there to let off some steam. I was so thankful I did.
Sherry asked me if I wanted her to go whoop on her when I told her what had just happened. Of course not. I am sure she didn't mean any harm. I am sure she was just trying to relate to me in some way?
And then Sherry told me a hilarious story.
When her son Caleb was little, they were in Wal-Mart. Caleb had a medal on a ribbon around his neck. The Wal-Mart associate started talking to Caleb and Caleb was talking back as well as a 3 or 4 year old kid will. Then the associate turned to Sherry and asked if Caleb liked sports. Sherry stated that he sure did. And then the associate said, "You should get him involved in the Special Olympics. I'm sure he would do really good!"
I laughed so hard. Caleb is a perfectly healthy boy! It was just what I needed to unwind from my irritation. My irritation isn't completely gone because I am hurt that people would say something like that. People just don't think or realize what they are saying! And they don't realize the impact of their words. If he has Down's Syndrome it would have been different. But, he doesn't and to assume a disorder on someone you have just met is completely weird.