Monday, March 29, 2010

A Close Encounter . . . or, My Stalking Finally Pays Off


I'll admit it: I like to do my grocery shopping on Monday mornings because I know "Linda" (not her real name) works on Monday mornings. She's the girl who bags groceries at my supermarket, and who has Down syndrome (Michael talked to her once and posted about it here). And who has been the object of my secret admiration for months.

I've always wanted to say something to her, open up a conversation, you know? But what? How? I mean, do I just say, "Hey, my kid has Down syndrome just like you!" Uh, no, I don't think so. And really, I don't want to bother her while she's working anyway. And there's a part of me, too, that feels like I have no right to intrude on her life just because it so happens that I ended up with a child who has the same diagnosis she has.

But still. I like to do my shopping when I know she'll be there. And I like to take Finn with me, and purposely go in her checkout line. I always hope she'll look at Finn and . . . I don't know . . . just know, I guess. I guess I've been waiting for her to open a conversation.

Anyway, so this morning I took Finn and Lilah to do our grocery shopping and we got in her checkout line and as she's bagging our groceries, she admires Finn's faux hawk. She asks me how I get his hair like that, and I tell her with gel. "He lets you?" she asks. "Well, he struggles, but I manage." Then she tells me how that's just like when she was little, she remembers her mom trying to fix her hair and how she didn't like it. She's cooing at Finn and saying how cute he is. So I take a deep breath and smile and say, "He has Down syndrome, too." Her eyes lit up and she said, "Does he?" "Yes, he does," I tell her. She said, "He can work here with me when he grows up."

I'm still smiling. I mean, it was really a very mundane and brief conversation, but it was seriously thrilling for me.

14 comments:

Mel said...

You don't know how glad I am to hear that I'm not the only stalker around! But my guy, who is 'trolley manager' at the local supermarket doesn't seem to register the Ds thing at all, much to my disappointment!

Kristin said...

We are so lucky to live near a local grocery store that is so supportive of Special Olympics; more than half the baggers have Ds. They are always doing fund raisers for Special Olympic athletes who are going to nationals, etc. And when they are doing fund raising they all wear their medals, which makes it easy to strike up a conversation. Last week they were selling root beer floats, so of course I stopped and bought one and told them how much I admired them. I told them I had a future athlete at home. I had to choke back the tears. I love our grocery store!

Monica Crumley said...

Oh my gosh, thanks for the tears at 11pm at night! You were brave to say it... not knowing if she "knew" and I love her response. Priceless!

Wendy P said...

Well now I'm crying. That was lovely!

Kelly said...

*Sigh* Tears of joy!! Good for you for speaking up...the reponse must have been so worth waiting for!! I am not surprised you are still smiling. I am too:)

Keri said...

You're lucky that "Linda" wasn't my cousin. You would have been rudely informed that it's not Down Syndrome, it's UP Syndrome! Although my cousin would have confronted you about whether or not Finn had "Up Syndrome" without you mentioning it. I had to ask her one day about why she called it Up Syndrome. Her answer, "I call it Up Syndrome because it makes people nicer and more caring than normal. Besides, Down Syndrome sounds depressing- how can something that makes you nicer sound depressing?"

Talley Images said...

sweet... I can only imagine how wonderful this felt...

Talley Images said...

I just saw you got an award... awesome!

http://walkonthehappyside.blogspot.com/

Alycia said...

My eyes just started watering... I dont exactly know why (maybe because I am a sap) but I am... They are happy lil tears though... Sweet tears...

Miss you and my all my babies!

Crittle said...

What a great encounter!

I should have checked with you before I made a fumble yesterday. The young lady I've seen around campus finally started working at my building yesterday and I just kinda threw M's picture in front of her and I think I freaked her a little. The adults with Ds in my town probably run when they see me coming! HA!

Lori said...

Pass the tissues please. What a great moment =)

Lisa said...

so flipping awesome!

Razzle Dazzle Mom said...

I love reading your blog, but rarely comment. But this one teared me up. So sweet!

The Sanchez Family said...

Tears...I'm a sap :)....such a sweet encounter!