By Ellen Seidman
Dear Mom On The Street Who Stared At My Son,
You didn’t notice me watching you staring at my son, but oh, I watched. You were headed toward us on the street, walking next to your husband, with a child about five years old trotting behind you. You were impeccably dressed, a shirt with red and white horizontal stripes tucked neatly into tan chinos, dark shoulder-length hair perfectly in place. My Max was ambling down the street and by that I mean, he was moving fast and when he does that he sways side to side.
He’d just had chocolate ice-cream, so he was very happy. He was also psyched to be out on a warm spring night with his mom and sister, cruising around town. He wore a navy cotton bandana bib that was wet; he’s been drooling more than usual lately. Cerebral palsy messes with your muscles, including your oral-motor ones.
You fixed your eyes on my son and did not take them off.
It wasn’t just a stare, it was a stare-glare. You seemed disturbed by the sight of him, the sight of a child. My child.
The stares I break down like this:
The curious stare: What is up with that boy? I can tell he has special needs, but I’m not sure what. Autism? The pity stare: Oh, that poor, poor, boy with special needs. How sad. Awwww. The exasperated stare: Why is that boy carrying on in a restaurant? His parents should not take him out if he’s going to act like that. What a brat. Continue reading