I have often said that our family tends to stick out like a sore thumb.
On the best of days, we are at least an inter-racial family which makes heads turn; and we have Chloe who is either in her wheelchair or is walking wobbly, fighting gravity with each step, which also causes folks to look. Add to that the days that one of the children is in a mood or is loud or ornery, the times when we have some extra equipment or whatever, and what you have is a family who really sticks out. We get noticed.
A good thing (I think) is that Paul and I are both ultra laid back so at least our anxieties or noise or activity don’t add to the picture in an annoying sort of way. (Unless folks are annoyed that we aren’t more bothered by our lives!)
But rest assured, our family cannot sneak into any place. No tiptoeing in for us! It is as though our presence is a magnet and the general population’s heads are attached to the other pole of the magnet, snapping them quickly in our direction as the spotlight lands right on us!
I’m sure it was no different today when at lunch time the kids and I walked into Discount Tire, seeking new tires for our van. I hopped out of the car and hurried to be next in line since the store seemed a little crowded. Zippy followed shortly after me and found a seat. Elliot got Chloe out of the car and carried her iPad for her and helped her walk into the tire place.
Chloe had to stop and rub on a couple of the tires on display that had little knobbies sticking up that made her giggle. Elliot stood patiently by and even reached over to see if the tires were everything Chloe was making them out to be. When Chloe had her fill of the knobbies, Elliot led her over to a seat and got her situated to wait — all while I stood in line at the counter.
A few minutes later, I walked out to the van with the tire guy to inspect the tires. As I walked back in the door, an older gentleman held the door open for me, and I could feel him looking intently into my face, begging me to look at him. When I looked up, I saw kind eyes … kind eyes that longed to return a blessing to me.
“I am so happy to see that big brother help his sister,” he said.
“Oh, thank you. He is a great big brother,” I said with a smile.
“He really is! Please tell him that I said so,” he added with sincerity. “He needs to hear that…. And so do you,” he finished.
And as I sat down, I couldn’t help but smile. Yes, we got everyone’s attention as usual. But today at least we were a blessing to one man.
It was interesting to me, too, how for the rest of the visit to the tire store, I was more aware of us being on stage.
I was more aware that people were watching.
Watching me feed Chloe her lunch of refried beans. Watching me sign “I love you” phrases back and forth with Zippy who sat across the room from me. Watching me clean up the floor after Chloe dropped her drink. Watching Elliot tell Chloe not to sit on the dirty floor. Watching my precious children waiting patiently and getting excited when the tire guy drove our van into the big garage. Watching Elliot support Chloe as she walked back outside to the van while I paid.
It’s nice to be able to bless others sometimes. And super nice when they tell us that we’ve blessed them!
So with 4 new tires and 4 happy hearts, we went on our way, continuing our errands.