I left my kids in the car with my husband the other day to grab a few items at the grocery store. The work involved in hauling two children, a car seat and the stroller into the store is quite the task. I rushed through the aisles to grab my golden items, hoping that my husband was not dealing with screaming children as I mentally planned dinner for the evening. I set my items down, watched as she scanned them one by one, zoning out a bit, and pulled my card out to pay, “I love seeing your son in here”, she stated, and I smiled, semi-glancing up. “I admire you and your husband, you know.” I lifted my head and made direct eye contact with her, while my eyes moistened. “Thank you” I said sincerely. It caught me off guard… because what I remember is that each time we are in the store, my son is either running off towards the bananas, or playing the “get in, get out of the cart” game- over and over and over.
“I have a nephew with Autism, and he brings more joy to our family than anyone.” She smiled as she spoke.
It is rare that people will address the fact that Noah has “special needs”. They watch and grin, some blatantly stare, some scowl at his loudness… but, I always wonder if the cashiers who speak to him think of me as an over-bearing, helicopter mother who answers for her 4 year old son. I always give a smile and a polite pause as if I too am expecting him to answer back, “i’m four”, “my name is Noah”, “yes, I want a sticker” (to eat).
I shared with the cashier that day that Noah has Angelman Syndrome and that it is similar to Autism in some regards. I always make a point to say how joyful he is, and that despite the challenges, it’s the biggest blessing in my life. It felt good to be able to give “it” a name, and share about his precious life.
She got it. She made it approachable, this whole special needs thing. A woman, I do not know. We need more people like you. Thank you.