I'm sorry, I didn't know"

"I'm sorry, I didn't know."

Today I headed to the grocery store. I took with me one envelope of grocery money, one non-verbal three year old, and a purse full of snacks and a cup of milk. I even had a list- which lets face it is the icing on the cake.
I quickly checked things off the list and to my surprise and delight Emmaus was amazingly well behaved. No whining, no throwing her snacks or pulling her hair,  just happy to be out with mama. As I rounded the produce corner an older, well dressed, fashionable woman - mid seventies I would say inquired how old Emmaus was. I smiled and said "she is three".  The woman in an overly sweet voice kinda clicked at me- and then said "well its about time to get her out of those diapers then, don't you think?"

My heart sunk to my feet, and it took everything I could do not to cry. It has been a hard few weeks around our house. The reality of having a special needs child, and the permanency of that reality has hit me like a ton of bricks. Lately it has taken all my strength to get myself up, care for my children, and not just melt into a puddle of tears all day long.  And so today, for me to wake up, do our September budget, get to the bank, make a grocery list and get to the store was quite an accomplishment.

I quickly smiled at the woman and replied "Oh, she is developmentally delayed, and has an uncontrolled seizure disorder, so she's just not there yet." To which she looked horrified and said "I'm sorry, I didn't know."

See- that's just it. None of us know.

We all walk around assuming that we know what is happening with other people. We form opinions, and convince ourselves we know best and that our opinions are truth. But we have no idea what is happening in other peoples lives, what their backstory is, or if they have had a bad day.
Yet we judge.
We judge the woman in front of us at the grocery store using WIC checks she pulls out of her designer purse.
We judge the grumpy man at subway who gets huffy with the lady making his sandwich.
We judge how people parent, how long they breastfeed, if they don't breastfeed. We judge if they spank, or if they don't. We judge what people feed their kids, or what they restrict their kids from. We judges peoples homes, and attitudes.
And yet- we don't truly know.

Just like the woman thought she could see the whole picture- a child who looked typical. Clearly was old enough to be potty trained, and was still in a diaper- so she assumed I just hadn't done it? Or was babying her?
But she couldn't see. She didn't know.
And I couldn't even be mad. Because I have been this woman. And while I haven't been bold enough to speak my opinions- I have sure thought them.

While the permanency of having a special needs child has hit me hard. The sight it has given me I am so thankful for. I am learning to fight my opinions. To give people the benefit of the doubt. And to spread love instead of judgement.
Because- I just don't know what people are up against. I don't know who is thriving and who is barely surviving. And so why not try to love those I encounter. To speak kindness, and give people the benefit of the doubt. That they are doing the very best they can.



  1. You are an inspiration to us all! Thank you for being brave and willing to share your story. I am praying for you and your precious family


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