Last evening as I walked through the nearly empty mall with my two youngest, you five girls were behind us by several yards.
We had just seen a movie and were in great spirits. We were walking to meet up with four of my older children. We stopped to take a photo, at one of those cutout scenes where you stick your faces through the holes. I caught sight of you as we took our photo, walking and giggling and having a good time.
I have had teenaged girls and know how much fun they can have together in a mall. I noted to myself that you were a lively group but certainly not threatening in any way.
You were walking faster than we were and the gap between us was closing. I turned from snapping our photo and we continued down the hall. My son fell behind a few steps as he was adjusting his earbuds. He was listening to his music like a typically developing 13-year-old boy might do in a mall. Though if you could have seen his playlist you would have realized he is not a typically developing 13-year-old boy.
He was probably listening to Disney tunes, the muppets, or a preschool sensation called The Fresh Beat Band. You probably did not notice he was “different” until you saw him run a few steps to catch up to me. He always runs on his toes with a very awkward gait; and I’m sure that a 6’3” young man running on his toes looked pretty ridiculous to you.
Scroll through to see some beautiful photos of Lisa and her family. (Post continues after gallery.)
The mall was empty enough for me to hear your innocent girlish giggling turn to that of a contemptuous kind of laughter. I knew before I turned; but I could not stop myself. I turned to look and saw one of you mocking my son. You were running on your toes and flailing your arms. My son and his little sister kept walking, not noticing that I had turned to look behind us.
They both have special needs and were oblivious to the change in my demeanor. I took about three steps back toward you, and your forward pace slowed. I must have looked very intimidating all of the sudden. I had gone from happy and quietly content to irate in a fraction of a second.
I can only imagine the look I had on my face as I took those few steps toward you. I did see the looks on your faces. Your laughter stopped. I saw guilt and I saw your faces redden with embarrassment. You were caught. You thought you’d have your laugh at my son’s expense and we would not notice. Or perhaps you did not care if we noticed, but you certainly did not expect me to turn and call you out.
We wanted to know, how do you build resilience in kids? (Post continues after video.)