Isaac is a blunt, straight-forward kind of kid.
This is good...and this is...awkward. Especially in public places.
One time, leaving a parking lot, he spotted a motorized wheel chair being transported from the back of a large passenger van. The man who it belonged to was carefully maneuvering himself into the red patented leather seat. The rest of the machine looked like one of Dorothy's ruby red slippers with wheels--it sparkled in the afternoon sun. Isaac couldn't take his eyes off the thing.
Stopping mid-stride he says loudly, "Mommy! WHAT is THAT?" Since we were literally 4 feet from this gentleman and his dream machine, I had to choose my words wisely. "Well...that's a motorized wheel chair." "Ohhh, a motorized WHEEL chair!" He echoed. I smiled at the man as he whizzed by us without a look. I started wondering, should I have called it a scooter instead?
This wasn't the first time this sort of situation had come up.
When Isaac was younger, taking him places was a challenge. Going grocery shopping was even more of a chore. I remember one time, I was standing in the produce section at Trader Joe's when Isaac was only 2. He was doing much more stimming then, and it would usually be in new or strange places, and more often, when he was excited. Nothing was more exciting to Isaac back then than a massive bin of bananas. The kid loves em'. When I was picking a bunch, he began to shake his head from side to side and flap his hands. I'll never forget the look I got from the woman next to me. Burned into my mind's eye is the disgust and confusion behind her eyes. I wanted to tell her my son was fine, he was just excited. I wanted to tell her he was just like every other little boy, but he just displayed his joy in a physical way. I wanted to say many things to this woman.
After that day, I let her fear become my fear. I started feeling the need to explain Isaac to people. I started putting up a defensive wall. A deep rooted struggle in my own life was coming to the surface while I dealt with Isaac's delays: People pleasing.
It took me many times of pushing myself and my son out of our comfort zones to realize one thing: Who cares. Who cares what people think? Who cares if they can't understand? Who cares if they can't offer a smile or an encouraging word?
As Dr. Seuss said: “...those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.”
I'm done with letting others opinions and their ignorance define Isaac's and my identity and limitations. I know who made him, and I know that Isaac's Creator knows more about him than any person, or any label can describe. My Creator knows me too. I am trusting in that. I'm holding onto that.