If you are going to stare – at least smile!!!

It’s been a while since I wrote a blog update.  It seems like life gets so busy and even though I have tons to say I never have the time to sit at my computer.  Today though, I felt compelled to sit and write so I could share an experience with everyone.  As many know, I have five boys at three different schools.  Two of my children are out for the summer, and two are still in school until Thursday.  (PJ of course doesn’t go to school just yet!)  This afternoon I decided to take Tommy and Ben and try out a park nearby that had a splash pad.  A few of the moms at the YMCA were talking about this park a few weeks ago and I’ve been wanting to give it a try.

This park was absolutely adorable and pretty close to my house.  We packed a picnic (which we ended up eating in the car because we went to the wrong park first), grabbed some bathing suits and towels and headed out.  PJ loved it!  He sat near the water and just splashed and laughed every time the water splashed onto him.  Tommy and Ben just ran around chasing each other.  I was sitting on a bench watching PJ when I saw this mom out of the corner of my eye.  She had her arms crossed and was just staring at PJ.  This is the second time in three days this has happened.  The first time there was a woman at Lions Fest (our local annual carnival).  She just stared for a few minutes as if she was trying to make sure that PJ really had Down syndrome.  She walked about to follow her kids though and it was over.  I was a little annoyed but I got over it.  Today was different.  This woman crossed her arms and stared at PJ with such a hard stare I could instantly tell she didn’t approve.  She stared him down for about ten minutes.  Then her daughter who looked to be about three walked over and was playing near PJ.  She quickly came over, grabbed her daughter by the hand and told her not to play by the baby.  I could feel my eyes stinging with tears.  Usually when people stare at PJ they smile and tell me how cute he is.  This woman looked angry that PJ was there; almost as if she was worried that her daughter would “catch” Down syndrome. My first instinct was just to grab my baby and leave.  But he was having so much fun so ignored that instinct and just sat closer to PJ and  did my best to ignore this woman.  She ended up getting her daughter and leaving.

Now I already know some people will tell me that maybe I was reading something into this that wasn’t intended.  I really don’t think that is the case this time.  This was different than anything I have ever experienced.  Actually, I can’t say that.  She acted exactly like someone I knew a long time ago.  I know this is just the beginning.  I will have many years of people staring.  My word of advice – if you are going to stare at least smile.  That way moms like me won’t think you’re just mean and evil.

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