She Is Someone’s Child

We have all done it.  We have all watched someone who is “different” from us.  Maybe it was that boy in the wheelchair.  Maybe it was the girl who kept her eyes to the floor and spoke only to herself.  Maybe it was that woman sitting in the doorway with only a blanket and a thin coat.  Maybe it is that family that is struggling to just get by at that exact moment. Maybe it is that child throwing a fit in the grocery store.

You think you are doing no harm.  That your stares, your whispers,  and your finger points go unnoticed.  That they are harmless.  What you don’t realize is that someone sees you. Someone feels those stares and hears those whispers. 

Today I am honored to share with you a post from my dear friend Jessica from Four Plus an Angel.  Jessica has felt those stabs, and wrote this beautiful piece to remind us that those stares, those whispers, and those finger-points are painful and that they make more of an impact than you realize.  

You Know it Happens at Your House Too: Someone's Child

Her hair is coarse and thick, dark brown and wavy.

My own is thin and fine, blonde with roots I’m trying to hide.

She has never worn a drop of makeup and is broad-shouldered.

I spackle my dark circles daily and am sometimes told I could be knocked over by a gust of wind.

I am her mom, but you didn’t notice.

I was in her classroom when you didn’t ask her to play.

I was in front of her a bit when you whispered to your friend to look at her as she stomped her feet.

I was behind her two steps when you looked back because you hadn’t stared enough.

I was far enough away that you didn’t realize we were together when you ran over to your co-worker to gossip about her staring and turning in circles.

She doesn’t know you said a word or did a thing, not a single one of you. In fact, she probably doesn’t see a difference between any of you and herself. If she did it might be the color of your shirt and she would tell you she liked it.

And I hope you would be embarrassed if she did. I hope her kindness and complete naiveté makes you feel ashamed of your stares and your words and your eye rolls.

We have done this for 18 years. For 18 years I have been next to, in front of, behind, deflecting ignorance with a silent evil eye that I hope gives off my intolerance for your behavior.

She may have never noticed but I always have. It may have bounced off of her but it has seeped into me.

At some point you decided that it doesn’t matter, that your right to stare or make a comment was more important than her right to be herself.

But you could not be more wrong. It does matter and the ripple of your actions hits mothers like me every single day.

She is someone’s child. She is mine. You might have thought no one was looking but someone was.

I haven’t missed a thing, but I wish I had.

Jessica Watson is mom to five, four in her arms and one in her heart. In addition to being a writer, she is a professional juggler of children, coffee and sanity. You can find her blogging at Four Plus an Angel, on FacebookTwitter and always on Pinterest.

 

Comments

comments

Comments

  1. I’m so glad you posted this for Jessica, Tara. This is so important for people to know. I’ve seen people throw stares and say things so lightly as if it is nothing to them. But it is something to someone else. And the people who love them.

    Well done ladies.
    Kathy at kissing the frog recently posted…Around the Pond with the Frog~Weeks ending 11/24/13My Profile

  2. Thank you so much for having me Tara and letting me share such an emotional topic for me.
    Jessica recently posted…No small victoriesMy Profile

  3. So well said.

  4. Oh, Jessica. You are amazing. I am sorry for the hurtful comments and stares you have witnessed. You and your girl are lucky to have each other! Sending you big love.
    HouseTalkN recently posted…Backstage of That’s What She Said!My Profile

    • I used to be a very self-conscious person and there are so many times that I think I have her to help me conquer that fear. She has taught me not to worry about what other people think. Love to you.
      Jessica recently posted…No small victoriesMy Profile

  5. Absolutely beautiful. I’ve felt the stares over the years, pretending they don’t hurt. They do. Great post!
    Dani G recently posted…*This Moment*My Profile

  6. I love this so much. And I am so glad that you shared. I had a friend with a very rare skin condition. Her skin was red, and she was noticeably different from everyone, including her three beautiful sisters. Unfortunately, she always felt the stares and heard the whispers. Her sisters (and I) would stick up for her, but the best was when she would just say something super sarcastic to their faces. I’ll never forget being in KMart with her when I was about 12–she was 14. This family just wouldn’t stop looking and were kind of following us around. Suddenly, Tirzah (my friend), turned around and asked if they would like to take a picture of her. That way they could look at it as long as they wanted. We all died laughing, and I remember being stunned at her bravery and willingness to laugh at a moment like that. She passed away two years ago from stage four melanoma. That was one of the dangers of her condition. I think about her all the time–and almost every memory is of her being funny and snarky.

    All this to say, you’ve got a great group of snarky behind you and your fam. We got your back. We have hers. Love you, Jess!
    hilljean recently posted…My strange hankering: Pecan Praline PopcornNov 22ndMy Profile

    • Wow, what an amazingly strong friend you had. I can’t imagine walking around knowing the stares are directed at you. It had to have taken so much confidence for her to face those people and say something. I’m so sorry for your loss. It sounds like she taught quite a few people a thing or two. Love you!!
      Jessica recently posted…No small victoriesMy Profile

  7. As a parent who stares. Because I may not have Larkin with me but I always appreciate the beauty of disability. Always. Because stares are not always bad. Because I’ve been stared “stalked” when I am with Larkin. It felt like crap until I realized … it’s because they love someone with a disability. Careful to silently judge what isn’t always obvious. Same as we ask of the rest of the world.

    Sometimes the stares are because it’s amazing to see someone just like us in the real world moving around.

  8. I love the way you tell this…though I wish we lived in a world where you didn’t have to tell a tale of stares and men comments.
    Robbie recently posted…First JobMy Profile

  9. This is just beautiful.

    It pains me when I see someone stare at someone else because they’re a little different from them. We’re ALL different from someone else. We just don’t realize it.

    What a great read…thank you.
    Carrie recently posted…With or without panties, we were going to see Chicago.My Profile

  10. I hope at least a few people really take this message to heart, Jessica. I’m sure I’ve been guilty at some point in my life and it hurts me to think about that. I hope I can raise my kids with enough kindness and awareness to never do this. Thank you for always standing up and staying what needs to be said, so beautifully.

  11. So haunting, Jessica. On behalf of every person who has ever made you feel like that, I apologize. And I do so because I know when I was younger, I was that mean girl. Not that it could ever bring you any comfort, but I promise you that people who point and giggle and stare only do it because of the pain they feel inside about themselves. Sad, but true. Thank you for writing this. It should be required reading for every child.
    Leslie recently posted…The thing about siblings…My Profile

  12. Such a lovely post. I hope this goes viral, it’s really something everyone should read.
    Shar recently posted…Entertaining Kids During the Holiday BreakMy Profile

  13. People have been breaking your heart on her behalf for 18 years. And, you just take it because you love her. You are one of the bravest people I know.
    Bethany @ Bad Parenting Moments recently posted…Something borrowed.My Profile

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