Liam had fallen asleep and I needed to make a quick trip into Target. I put him in the sling and carried him in that way. He woke up right away but was content to just hang out with me while I picked up a few items.
As I was standing in the aisle an older woman approached me and asked me if Liam had Down's Syndrome or if he was autistic!! Like there is a visual benchmark for autism? I am truly thinking at this point, wth? Now, I know this lady has no idea the irritation that brings when someone does that to me. I completely understand that. But I did respond with a long "Noooo, he has cerebral palsy." And then she said she was sorry.
Except her sorry wasn't for assuming he had something he didn't. She was sorry that he had disabilities.
I told her not to be sorry.
She went on to say that her niece has Down's Syndrome and that God just puts these kids on this earth because they are so special. That they just have a special place here.
I agreed with her on that and told her that Liam is special and that he shouldn't even be alive. I told her that he only weighed one pound when he was born but he's one of the sweetest people I've ever known even in the face of all of his challenges.
She started to rub Liam's head and then said again that she was really sorry.
I told her again that she doesn't need to be sorry. If God put him on this earth because he's so special and he was in a special place, what is there to be sorry for?
She agreed with me that that was definitely true and then we parted ways.
I understand that this woman was not trying to be mean and was not trying to hurt my feelings. I get that. She was a very nice woman. She has a family member with Down's and she was trying to relate to me through that disorder. I also know that you can tell that Liam has something 'wrong' with him because he can't hold his head up. I understand all of that. I appreciate that she was trying to relate to me. But the way in which she kept telling me she was sorry about Liam was really sad. And she kept saying it in front of him.
Liam isn't stupid. He understands a lot of what goes on. One day, he is going to get what these references and apologies are about. And I want him to know that he should NEVER be sorry for what he has to go through. And that he should NEVER feel sorry for being who God made him to be. He is special. He is unique. And we love him no matter what.
Do I just need to get thicker skin? It's going to be hard to do because I am sensitive about what Liam goes through and what he faces. And while in the worldly scheme of things it isn't fair what he has to face, I know that Liam is here for a reason, he does have a purpose and we are very proud of him.