Sunday, January 11, 2009

Another Stalking Incident

I was at Target a little while ago and going down an aisle, encountered a young man with Ds. He looked to be 18 - 22ish and was with who I assume was his mother. Of course I started following them (from a safe distance). It was clear from his facial features that he had Ds, but what surprised me was that he did not have that telltale gait to his walk - he walked completely normal and sure-footed. I wanted to hear him talk, which was really why I started following them, but I never got close enough to hear his speech. He was wearing a basketball uniform. I know it's terrible that I was following them, hoping to get . . . I don't know . . . reassurance? I don't know. I couldn't help myself. I tried to make myself as unobtrusive as possible, and I don't think they ever noticed me. I only followed them for a few minutes and then went on my way. Later I saw them in the checkout lane and I swear I wanted to follow them out to their car and just turn myself into a fly on the wall.

I was reminded of the obnoxious teenagers I ran into at the very same Target a while back. The ones who were calling each other "Retard" and laughing up a storm. It made me sad and angry all over again. Teenagers are notoriously self-involved, I know, but gosh, just imagine if they had been doing that today, when this young man was there. He's probably run into it all before, sadly.

I hope that if a parent with a child with a recent diagnosis ever sees me and Finn in a store, and decides to follow us from a distance, that I will pick up on the vibe and be able to offer some words of encouragement and comfort.

13 comments:

Megan said...

Just wanted to let you know...I'm a stalker too. There. I feel better! LOL!

Liz said...

I'd bet that mom would have been happy to talk to you, Lisa. Think about it... if a stranger walked up to you and said that she just had a baby and that she saw that your little boy was Ds... and she just wanted to talk to you, to see how you got through it, to connect... what would you say? How would you feel? From all that you share here, I think you would be more than happy to reach out to that other mom!!

Erin said...

Yeah....I'm a stalker too....I have gotten the courage to talk to a family once...you should too! I bet the mom and teen would enjoy it! We'll work on this one together! =)

Ruby's Mom said...

Me,too.I'm a stalker.Just before christmas I saw the same young African American man with his caregiver at a store near me.Both times I wanted to talk to them but didn't.He was dressed so handsomely and looked so happy,I was drawn to him but didn't know what to say.

Lovin Mama said...

I've been stalked by moms of older kids with Ds. It was nice to talk to them. Today I stalked my neighbor, her new baby has Ds.

Chrystal said...

Guilty.

In fact, now I have D helping me do it. He'll just say "designer genes" and I then I start looking.

Thanks for reminding me of a recent occurrence. I'll have to post about it soon.

Michelle said...

I'll come out and say it too, my husband and I are both stalkers!! I think he is worse than I am. We have a group home within a few miles from our house and often see self advocates walking to the bus stop. A few months ago we were in target and a teenager was following us around in a few isles, and was admiring and smiling at Matthew. At first I thought it was nice but then wondered why she lingered around. After awhile, she started asking questions about Matthew. As it turns out, her younger sister has DS and is a star in her school and on a sports team. I'm happy she stopped to chat....warmed my heart.

starrlife said...

After you have experienced your own you start to see people everywhere with DS. It's okay and normal to be curious. The 'higher functioning' folks set your heart soaring despite your intellectual democracy and vice versa. I'm not sure it can be helped except by stringent non-comparing and sometimes that takes work, especially throughout the main developmental baby years. We all just strive to be the best we can be!You're brave to put your vulnerable moments out there!

SunflowerMom said...

Hee hee, I defintiely follow other families around when I see they have someone with Ds with them! Once, I strolled past a family 3x, with Sean in the cart, hoping they'd notice him and say something to me. I wonder if when your child is older you eventually grow out of noticing others bc it is just a way of life.

Laurie said...

Reminds me of this...there is a guy with Down syndrome who lives in my town and works at our grocery store. I had seen him at the store before I had Dylan but havent seen him since. Well, a few weeks ago I was driving and saw him walking...I just about had a car accident bc I was trying so desperately to look at him. Just...to look at him. Is that weird? Yep probably!

I think what Im trying to say is...I probably would have done the same thing!

Eva said...

I only hope to have stalkers like this! My son is so beautiful and full of smiles. I want to tell the world about my "Joy Boy". Of course I am overprotective and wouldn't let him out of my site for a minute either. Anytime anyone asks or comments on how sweet Brogan is, I am so happy to agree.

We live in a small community so I DO look forward to my son having a lot of friends and his schools being more proactive than most. I also think it would be scary to be stalked.

I only hope that you can make friends for your baby wherever you go. People are curious, and I feel so lucky that my son is such a doll, such a love and a charmer. I am blessed with a beautiful boy and I would never go back to my life before him.

Sharon said...

Lisa - I have enjoyed following your blog. You have a gift with words! The Ds blogging world is really amazing....so many families connected by an extra chromosome! Also, I think most families would be happy if you approached them. I know I would be!

Blog editor said...

As the mother of a 23 yr old son with DS, I notice lots of people with DS of all ages as we move around out community. I would be very happy to be "stalked" and openly approached - just bowl up and introduce yourself - we'll know why you're doing it, having done it ourselves .... and my son would be delighted to meet any little person, with or without DS! I work for our state DS organisation, and my daughter often says "there's someone with DS - who is that?" as though I actually know everyone.