Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Compliment

Haley got money for Christmas.

My child loves to shop and she understands that she needs money to shop, so when her Big Sis wanted to go to the Mall she was ready.

Big Sis had some definite ideas about what she was looking for and and where we would find it, so we followed her. We went in to one of her favorite stores; Forever 21. The store was cram packed with clothes of all kinds and colors. The prices are pretty good too.  I thought Haley would like it.


We walked in and headed to a rack. Haley turned around and headed back out. I looked up from the shirt I was trying to show her and she was gone. I turned and saw her leaving the store. I caught up with her and explained to her that we were going to shop in this store for a while and then we would look at different stores, but right now she needed to shop here.

After that she was fine. She even found several things that she liked. She wanted to carry them herself.

We shopped for a while and then her sister decided it was time to try things on. I told Haley that I wanted her to try her things on as well and we headed for the dressing rooms. Big Sis did not want to share a dressing room (they were pretty small) so we got our own.

All but one sweater fit her well. I explained all of the reasons that I didn't think that the sweater worked, but I could tell that she still wanted it. It was orange. It had stripes. She wanted it.

Haley got ahead of me by a few steps leaving the dressing room and I quietly handed the orange striped sweater to the attendant. As I caught up with her there were two girls about Haley's age standing by the entrance to the dressing rooms. One of them leaned in to Haley smiling and trying to make eye contact with her and said "I like your top."

I said "Say Thank You," but I don't think she did. She was ahead of me and I couldn't hear her.

Haley probably didn't even notice that the girl spoke to her. She was on a mission to buy her new clothes. I walked up next to her and looked at her profile, she was focused straight ahead. I turned back to smile at the girl that spoke to Haley, but I didn't see her.

All I could see was the look on her friend's face.

I couldn't tell what she might be thinking. She might have thought that Haley was rude for not saying anything or that she seemed different somehow, I don't know. I pushed away the thought that she might be trying to figure out if there was something wrong with her.

I normally don't notice things like that.

I did when Haley was little. I used to get all caught up in what people thought when she threw temper tantrums in public or when people asked her a question and she didn't answer it. I read other blogs by parents of children with special needs and it seems like every single one has at least one post that is a rant against the people that give them funny looks or make stupid comments.

I stopped paying attention to other people's looks and comments about Haley a long time ago. I learned that it did me no good to dwell on what other people thought. My daughter is the way she is. There are no excuses. If someone wanted to start a conversation I would be happy to answer questions and have a dialog, but I don't pay attention to funny looks.

I did that day though.

After that girl gave Haley that look (I don't think she even knew that I saw her) I noticed that a lot of people were giving Haley funny looks. After a while I stopped and looked at her myself. I didn't see anything amiss. She didn't have food on her face or a milk moustache, she didn't have a booger sticking out of her nose or smudges on her glasses. Her hair looked good and we had already established that she was wearing a nice top (thank you very much.) So I really don't know what people were looking at.

Did she look that different from everyone else in the store? 

I sure didn't think so.

That is probably why I don't pay much attention to other people. I am not saying that I have always been that way. When I was young I paid a lot of attention to what others thought and said. I put up with my fair share of teasing and bullying. I spent some time crying by myself.

If any negative attention was directed at me I would probably get hot and flushed and want to run.

I think most people care to some extent what other people think of them. No one wants other people to look at them funny.  Many of us would like it if someone gave us a compliment. If they said they liked our top or our hairdo we would smile, we would say "Thank You."

Haley won't.

She really doesn't care.

She likes what she likes. She liked the top she was wearing. I remember when she picked it out. She liked the color and she thought it was "cute," but she really doesn't care if anyone else likes it or says anything about it.

She goes on her merry way.  She is happier than most of us too.

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