Accept Difference

To the lady in Waitrose this morning…

Please don’t judge me for looking at you. Mine were eyes of sympathy, amidst those of curiosity and others of condemnation.

You were leaving the cashier, as I was coming in. I couldn’t help but look, because your child’s screams filled the entire vacuous space of the shop.

To me, his screams of wanting cake were not the ordinary cries of a child having a tantrum, they were somehow more than that.

I could only see you through the tills and couldn’t easily reach you, or I’d have reached out and asked if I could help. By the time I had thought to do this, the screams, though they didn’t lessen for you, were disappearing out of the shop.

You looked so calm. Deep down you must have been in agony. It was as if time stood still for those moments as he screamed for that cake. But you had the look of someone who had dealt with this before. Someone who is able to block out the prying eyes and focus on what really matters. Him.

I could see, even from across the shop, that you understood why he was upset and because of this, it didn’t actually matter that people were staring in disbelief. Some embarrassed, looking nervously at other shoppers, trying to make sense of what they could hear. Some probably like me, wanting to ask if they could help, but not quite knowing how to.

You must have made it out of the shop and away from that difficult moment, because by the time I left there was only the usual noises of a supermarket car park filling the air.

I admire you. I admire your ability to cope so well under scrutiny. I don’t know whether you always cope so well. But even if this was your finest parenting achievement so far, you nailed it. You didn’t need our help today, but you have my thoughts.

Disability is not always visible. Your response is. Make a difference. Accept difference.

If you enjoy my blog, I would be very grateful if you voted for me in the Mumsnet Blogging Awards: Best Writer and best Comic Writer categories. It is a quick one – takes seconds and here’s the link, thank you 🙂

15 thoughts on “Accept Difference”

  1. I had read this post already but am so pleased to see it here too. Very thought-provoking post. None of us know what goes on in the lives of others. It must have been extremely difficult for that lady. We don’t know what her and her child are going through. We must all be less judgemental. #momsterslink

    1. Thank you so much, as always, for your thoughtful comments. I find that I have to tell myself to be less judgemental in many situations. I give myself a shake!

  2. Lovely post – I never know whether to offer help in these instances because it would be offered with the best of intentions but I’d hate to unintentionally offend someone by doing so…#momsterslink

    1. Thank you. It is so easy to offend people unintentionally, especially in stressful situations. I suppose we can all reach out, because if our help is received, it could potentially, at that moment be a lifeline. Thank you for commenting.

  3. Very powerful writing and full of empathy for someone clearly coping very well in a very tricky situation. The more we turn away from judging others the better and a very clear message here “Disability is not always visible. Your response is. Make a difference. Accept difference.” Really excellent writing. #ablogginggoodtime.

  4. I think its lovely to voice such compassion even if you couldn’t at the time, it help builds the sense of community, of acceptance of not being judgemental. It made me smile reading it xx thank you for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime

  5. Wow what a supermom she is. I have seen those kind of tantrums in other people’s children as well and as much as I am sure they are used to it I am also sure it probably doesn’t get any easier. I live in a small town and I run into a woman with 6 small children, one of which is an infant, whom she always has with her. She has 2 daughters that were in my daughters dance class. I would always try to help her because her hands were always so full but she was always so calm, cool, and collected. I have seen her at the grocery and have been tempted to offer if she needed to feel free to drop the kids off at my house so that she can shop without it being a three hour chore. I am sure I will be seeing her again as dance season is around the corner. Think I will make a true effort to reach out. Thanks for linking up with #momsterslink. Hope to see you again tomorrow!

Leave a Reply