Friday, April 16, 2010

a learning experience?

So yesterday I went to get my hair cut while Anne was at school... after, Whitney and I went to have lunch together and I had a little bit of time before I had to pick up Anne from school so I decided to run into a shop to see if they had any cute dresses for a charity event we have coming up next weekend. I actually found quite a few cute dresses so I went to try them on. I had Whitney sitting in the front of the shopping cart and had nothing in the cart (except for Whitney) and was holding 7 dresses in my arms to try on. I went to the dressing room and the dressing room attendant very rudely informed me that I could not bring the cart in with me. I looked at her with a puzzled look and said, "what?" she pointed to a sign and said "can't bring the cart in here". I looked at Whitney then looked back and her and said that I would not be able to try the dresses on if I couldn't bring the cart in with me. She just looked at me with a dirty look and didn't say a thing in response. I then said to her that I had never been to a store where if the Handicap dressing room was open that they didn't allow me in with my child in the cart while I went in to try on clothes. (in fact, most times the attendants have been so nice and realize it is difficult with children and that keeping them in the shopping cart is one way to keep them "corralled" while trying on clothes so they usually go out of their way to say the handicap dressing room is open and to go ahead in there with the cart to try on.)
The woman then looked right at Whitney and then back at me and said "Oh, I didn't realize she was handicapped, go ahead." Writing it in the blog post doesn't do justice to the woman's attitude and way she treated me and the insensitive way she pointed out to me that Whitney was, in her view "handicapped" so then it was alright for me to go into the handicapped dressing room. I guess I was just taken aback by her demeanor and the way she called Whitney "handicapped" but it really took me by surprise and as I tried on the dresses I couldn't help but start to cry. This also surprised me because I do not easily cry! I guess in a way it broke my heart for Whitney to be judged and I was so happy that she had no clue the way the woman had just judged her, but I know that this will not be the only time something like this will happen. I guess in her 19 months of life we have been so lucky to not encounter really anything like this, most of the time people just smile and compliment us on how adorable whitney is, how beautiful her eyes are, how well she is doing (which we realize we are so lucky, especially considering how incredibly sick and barely hanging on to life she was in the beginning months of her life). It just took me by surprise and I do not consider Whitney "handicapped" and to have someone else judge her as handicapped and label her it just hurt me for my little girl.
I know that at some point in both of their lives both Whitney and Anne will have their feelings hurt and will encounter "mean people" but I wish as a parent I had a way to protect them from this. I have said to Mike so many times that I wish somehow I could keep Anne and Whitney from ever being 8th grade girls (after teaching middle-school Spanish, I have determined that from what I have observed that 8th grade seems to be one of the worst "mean girl" times in girls lives). Anyway... I know I have read other people's stories about encounters like this and I think that helped prepare me for an experience like this, but at the same time it still took me completely by surprise and will probably help me learn how to be stronger the next time something like this happens (hopefully the next time will not be for a very LONG time).

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!!!
Just have to end with some cute pictures of the girls (sorry, I can't help myself)

~Laura









21 comments:

jenphen said...

New pictures are adorable and all I can say is that people are unbelievable!!!

Kelli said...

Cute pictures.
I have thought about that many times. The school bus, cafeteria, and especially that 7th 8th grade year. Hopefully my skin will be a little thicker.
Coming from and adult though? Serioulsy? What is the matter with people?

Ellen said...

Mean people suck, that's all I gotta say. Hugs to you and Whitney!

Rebecca said...

There are a lot of really good people in the world, but there are a lot of clueless ones, too! I too wish there was a bubble that we could place our kids in to shield them from mean people, but I know it hasn't been invented yet :).

All we can do is arm our children with knowledge and prepare them to deal with mean people. This woman at the store obviously didn't "get it", but who knows, maybe one day she will. Hugs!

Cammie Heflin said...

People have no clue most of the time! Whitney and Anne are so gorgeous!

Adrienne said...

I can't believe she called Whitney handicapped?! Is that how she sees people with DS? Wow. I totally would have cried too. Not because someone would consider my child handicapped but because of how mean she was about it. I'm sorry that you had to experience that but I guess we just need to get prepared for more to come and a good way to handle it.

Your girls are truly beautiful in their pretty dresses!!

Denise said...

Never apologize for beautiful pictures of two beautiful girls!! Secondly....I was already irate at this lady way before she said "handicapped". This whole story had nothing to do with Whitney being "handicapped". I would have wanted to do the same thing with my "typical" kids when they were that age. The lady was simply just a rude "idiot"!!!

Runningmama said...

Holy Cow! I would have never thought someone would refer to a person with DS as handicapped! I am so sorry that happened, it just stinks when people can't just be nice!

Anonymous said...

I am hopeful that you didn't make a purchase at this store! Also thinking about how rude and insensitive the employee was to you and wonder if maybe you should go back and ask to talk with Management? Maybe managements need to educate their employees better?

Michelle said...

sending you hugs! I think no matter how much you try to prepare yourself for that kind of interaction, it still will hurt when it happens :( I would have walked out of the store and taken my business elsewhere with that attitude!

The pictures are adorable as always!

Kele@ said...

First, NEVER apologize for posting pics of those beatuites, I could look at them forever! AMAZING!
Secondly, it was so understandable to be upset after the treatment by the dressing room attendant, however, I bet more of it was just 'shock and suprise' more than anything... because you know if you truly think on it, that that is just ONE person, one sad person, who's life is most likely lacking in more ways than we can guess... cry for her, not that beautiful daughter, that daughter that 100's of people stop and coo over and love on and admire. She is loved and she will be treated beautifully in life. And in the rare times she is not, then pray for those sad, lonely people who must be miserable within themselves to not see her gifts and beauty!

Angi B said...

I feel for you and that dissapointing experience. Hugs to you and your beautiful girl. Our little ones will change the world one smile at a time.

Sharon said...

I think there will be times when we get hit with a wave of unexpected emotions. Mainly because we see our kids as perfect just as they are - then a comment comes reminding us that others don't necessarily share our views. I know that has happened to me a few times already....so, you're certainly not alone! Hugs to you, my friend.

Andrea said...

I have been reading your blog for a long time, however I don't think I have ever commented. Our daughters are close in age and I always thought both of your girls were adorable! Whitney's eyes, they are beautiful! I felt this post and it does hurt when the world (people) point out the difference in anyone. It makes me cry too! You have a beautiful family! Andrea

Sarah, Andy, Murdoch, and Deucey said...

Love the pictures - your girls are so freaking cute! I can't believe that lady said that - well actually I can. It is amazing how cruel and insensitive people can be! And I don't think they even know they are doing it!

Melissa said...

I love the expression on Anne's face in the first picture!

This was one of the things I was (am) most worried about when we found out that Claire had DS. People can be so mean and I just don't want any kiddo to have to put up with that crap. Hugs to you. I would have been crying too. :(

kathy.stadler said...

Dear Laura,
Hugs and hugs..I am sorry for your
encounter..I would have cried too.
Your girls are beautiful!
Beautiful!Sweet! Lovely!
God bless all.
Love, Aunt Kathy

Aunt Peg said...

In true Aunt Peg fashion, I would have easily burst into tears too. I'm glad you were able to let the hurt you so justifiably felt come out as tears running down your cheeks. Crying is nothing to be ashamed of and can be such a healing thing to do! Blessings to both you and Whitney!!

Bethany said...

Hey girl ... send me your email address so I can give you my number!!

bethanybalsis@mac.com

I'm sorry you experienced this. :( When I read what you wrote, my first thought was that she said what she did as a follow up to your comment about taking the cart in the handicapped dressing room and that she didn't necessarily mean that Whit is handicapped. Could that be? I assume not, but just trying to play devil's advocate to try to see the good in people. LOL. Not sure why after my little mishap the other day, but whatever.

I hope you are doing well and seriously ... Whitney is so beautiful!! One day soon you will be able to shoot back an awesome comment to someone like this lady like, "She is not handicapped. She has Down syndrome. That does not make her handicapped." In the nicest, most educational way possible, right? LMAO.

Lia said...

I just read your posting today and it made ME cry. To say that mean people are awful is the understatement of the century. They cause unexpected and completely undeserving heart breaks and I think that is about as low as one can get.

Ruby's Mom said...

I'm so sorry that happened to you.There are some really rude people out there.
The pictures of your girls are great!Whitney's hair is getting sooo long.I love how blonde it is :)