It was 4 years ago, this week, that I had my first truly negative experience having a child that was not like everyone else's.
Up until Elise turned 4, she was so tiny that no one realized that she was different, they just thought she was younger.
But 4 years ago this week, was when we were at the Fair, sitting between the Bee-Ride and the Apple-and-the-Worm-Ride, Elise started whining and spitting over who-knows-what. We got several strange looks and then the knife to the heart. A mother was waiting on her child on one of the two rides, she looked at Elise, at me, and back at Elise and her lip curled...and I heard her say "What is WRONG with that child?" Her girlfriend looked at her, us, and back at her "I guess she's GOT something." And with a lip curl and shoulder shrug we were dismissed.
I know that seems very minimal, but for my child to be scorned and dismissed and me to have to witness it, hurt.
I haven't been back to the fair.
Not completely because of this. The next year Amelia was tiny and it was cold, and the one after that I was pregnant and it was rainy, and the one after that Charlotte was itty bitty. Even though I could have made it, it took almost no excuse to keep us home. I wasn't ready to face the Bee-Ride.
We went to the fair tonight because we promised Gabriel...so we ate supper and went at bedtime...it was insane...and we knew it going...we didn't stay too long...but it was lovely. We took Gabriel on the twirl-around-and-puke rides and the girls rode the tiny rides. Elise INSISTED on riding the Bee-Ride, which was, of course next to the Apple-and-the-Worm-Ride. The girl manning that ride asked me what "she had" nodding at Elise, in the tone of voice that said she knew already. I told her with a clenched stomach that Elise had Down Syndrome. She said that she thought so. Her uncle did. And launched into several stories about him, while the girls enjoyed a monstrously long Bee-Ride. And she turned to me suddenly and and demanded to know if Elise had been treated well by the other ride operators...and I said that she had nothing but fun...and she sighed and said "Good, I'm glad!!"
How sweet was God to redeem the Bee-Ride? He didn't have to. But I cannot begin to tell you how much I'm looking forward to taking the kids to ride the rides next year...I won't have to come up with a flimsy excuse to bail...and Elise will get to cheer "WHEEeeeeeeeeee!" again.
The entire ride home, Elise thanked us for each and every ride she went on. "Kank yoo, Cars! Kank yoo, Nemo! Kank yoo, boats! Kank yoo, slide! Kank yoo, Bee!! FUN!!!!"
I'd just like to add mine. Thank you, God, for the Bee-Ride! It was fun! :)