Today started off pretty great, then it went downhill.
I decided to take the girls into the city to meet James for breakfast at Tim Horton's. We've never done this before and our only others plans today are for the girls to get their hair cut.
We arrived at Tim Horton's and found a table for the four of us. There was another couple sitting not too far away, a husband and wife. She kept staring at Adele, and not one of those smiley, friendly stares, but a blank stare. Kind of like a deer caught in the headlights.
I mentioned it to James and he said that she probably has seen Adele's face plastered all over the place and she recognizes her from Facebook or the news.
He was trying to make me feel better.
I went up to the till, Brinley was with me. The lady got our order ready and looked at Brinley and told her just how cute she was and that she loved her outfit. She then pointed over to Adele and said "that one there is cute too."
She said it like it was forced, she needed to say something because she knew that both girls were with me. I felt a bit hurt.
We sat down with our food. Another lady, on her own, sat next to us and was commenting on how adorable Brinley was and that she was a busy little girl. We acknowledged and laughed a bit. By this point, I didn't want to talk to anybody else.
She looked at Adele and said "so sad." Yes, this is what she said. Before I could react, she caught herself and said that she thought Adele was cute. It wasn't sincere, it wasn't genuine.
She then asked me how old the girls were and I told her their ages. Why I was still engaging in conversation with this lady, I don't know.
There was a little gasp when I told her Adele's age. Yup, my little girl with Down syndrome is almost 18 months, she's not crawling, she doesn't walk and she's still in a car seat because we think it's the safest option for her at this point in time. Go f@#k yourself!
I looked at James and he knew that it was time to go.
The lady, who already has done enough damage, then proceeds to tell me that I must have my hands really full with two young children. I nod. She tells me that Brinley will be a lot of work but having Adele will be so much more work, lots of effort and extra time put into her.
I looked at her, I wanted to cry, punch her, kick her in the kneecaps, but instead, I told her that we love our daughter and that she is one pretty awesome kid. I couldn't get anything else out. I was stumped. This has never happened to us before. This shit shouldn't happen to us and to other families who have a child of varying abilities. Where have parents gone wrong in raising their children? What happened to teaching your children about respect, inclusion, acceptance and differences? When you teach your children all of this, they grow up to be kind, respectable adults.
James helped me get the kids back into the car. Before we left, I decided to buy some donuts for the NICU and drop them off. The NICU was a place of comfort for us and Adele was loved and appreciated. I needed to feel some peace and comfort.
I pulled away and I cried. This was the first time that I've heard some of these words, words that were directed towards Adele. I was so hurt. My heart ached for Adele. My tears continued to flow as I thought about the future and when she will understand what people are saying about her. I cried for the times when Brinley will have to defend her sister. At this moment, in my car, I mourned the loss of the 'perfect typical' child. I felt sorry for my baby girl. I felt sorry for those who don't get it. I felt sorry for the ignorant people in the world.
Some people may think that I am exposing my child too much through social media or fighting for changing the face of beauty, I am doing this all for a purpose. I am trying to educate the world. I am trying to pave a smooth road for both of my children. I am on a mission, but today I felt like I failed. This is not a woe is me speech, it was just a hard day. I know that we have so much love and support that surrounds us and we are grateful and thankful. Tomorrow is a new day.