I can't be everywhere all the time. As much as I want to be with Chandler always, I know that I will miss some experiences and some will be wonderful moments when he is with his dad, or respite care staff, or his grandparents, or at school. I may miss a new word, or a newly learned skill, and that saddens me. Some moments won't be wonderful. Some of the people that care for Chandler will have struggles, and have to deal with meltdowns, but worst of all they will have to deal with ignorance in the community.
Tonight Chandler went to the park with Tracey, his respite staff. It was such a gorgeous night, barely any wind, the sun warming your face. Chandler loves the feeling of swinging and bouncing. The sensory input for him must be delightful, since it one of the moments I see him with his big, beautiful smile. He went straight to the bridge that bounces when you walk across it. Of course Chandler didn't notice, there were two young girls attempting to cross. Their mother immediately yelled at Chandler "You don't jump like that! Can't you see the two little girls that are smaller than you?!" In fear, Chandler slid through the side to the ground and walked away. Tracey didn't miss a beat. She went straight to the woman and explained that he didn't understand, and he was non verbal. The women didn't really apologize, she made excuses for what she said like it was no big deal. She didn't say another word however. I hope she felt ashamed of herself. I hope she thinks before she speaks the next time.
Most importantly, these experiences renew my faith that I am not alone. His caregivers feel the frustration and anger that I do, and they look out for my son when I can't be there. I love that I can send him with her and feel confident that she will protect him, and watch out for him as I would. Thank you Tracey for not letting him be invisible, thank you for standing up for him in a world that can be terrifying and sometimes cruel.