About a year ago I was at the park with D. Summer in Texas can be brutal so we like to play as early in the day as we can or early evenings. I remember it was a Sunday morning because it was our best chance at having the park to ourselves.
There was another mom there with her son who looked to be around the same age as D. At this point, my son was still very non-verbal. He could not independently say hello or goodbye. Eventually, our two kids met and her son addressed mine and asked his name.
After the third time he asked I knelt down to his level and gently explained to the little boy that my son could not speak. I looked up at his mother and she didn’t have an expression on her face. I know parents are uncomfortable with strangers speaking to their children so I said to her, “he is non-verbal and has autism so we are still practicing with hellos.”
She yanked her son by the arm and left without ever acknowledging our presence. I will never know what went on in her head, and quite frankly, I don’t care. What an incredibly rude thing to do.
I was hurt of course. I am no stranger to rejection but this was different. This was another parent openly displaying their disgust for my child. How could she see my son as an affront?
She was dressed in black leggings, a peach racerback shirt, a blue drawstring sack, aviator shades, her hair was tied back and she was wearing a headband. Regular suburban mom, right? I feel like this was the parent version of Mean Girls.
Autism awareness is important and so is acceptance. Yes, we have come very far in a decade but there is still work that needs to be done so our kids have a fair shot in this world. After all, our children will inherit the Earth.
Stay positive and spread joy.