Friday, 17 January 2014

Role model

During the Christmas holidays I went grocery shopping with Sunny.

While we were in one of the aisles I suddenly heard a loud noise followed by someone noisily running around. I could not see what was happening, but I heard it. Soon I heard the sounds again: it was some kind of screaming/squealing/yelling and then there were running sounds again.

The sounds accompanied us and at some point I finally saw what it was: it was a boy, approximately 15-16 years old. It only took me a second to realise that he had an intellectual disability. I do not see many kids with special needs outside the school so I took a closer look to see whether I knew him but I did not recognise him. He was happily and obliviously running through the aisles, jumping around and yelling full of joy. He was genuinely happy and everybody could see it. It made me smile.

And everyone was staring at him, of course. He was at the supermarket with his father and his two brothers. When I saw his father I was quite sure that I had seen him at Sunny's school, so I guess the boy is actually attending the same school that Sunny goes to.

Anyway, as we were making our way through the supermarket we met them several times. And although people stopped and stared because of the "strange" behaviour of his son this father did not care for one tiny second. He acted like there was nothing eye-catching about his boy at all. I loved the way he handled all the stares: he just moved on and did his shopping in a completely quite and relaxed way, being helped by his other sons.

The last time I saw them was in the parking lot. His two sons had preceded them and had started to load the groceries into the car. The father and his son were a bit behind and slowly approaching the car. They held hands and both looked content and laid-back.

This man was so at peace with himself and the whole situation that I wished I had more of his coolness. That I could be so unconcerned about people staring at us. That I could be as relaxed as he was when Sunny behaves in an "untypical" way. Maybe, hopefully I will accomplish that when I am as experienced as this man and further down the path of this journey that we are on. He will be my new role model when we feel the stares again.



2 comments:

  1. Joy, think of the age of that boy. The father has years on you to find that peace. You will get there my friend, you will. And the next time Sunny is not so typical in public remember his peace. It will help you find your own.

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  2. Oh Joy this is beautiful and so important. I wish I could be more laid back when people stare at us too. I was at lunch this week with a friend whose son is in Tucker's class and both boys were doing what they do- they were running around (but it was late in the afternoon and honestly the place was almost empty) and we got "The Look" from some awful woman...it made me feel horrible. I hope more people become our role models! xo

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