This Isn’t About You12 Aug 2015, by Uncategorized in
Dear lady sitting two tables behind my daughter at Cibos at Burnside Village, I’m sorry you felt the need to give me the most haughty look I’ve seen in awhile. You had spread your newspaper generously across the small table, and gone through the trouble of putting on your pearls and perfect red lipstick this morning. Your lovely white hair had been set with not a strand out of place. You were prepared to share your morning with your mug of coffee in a very public, open space with these other humans that merely exist in your world. What you didn’t expect was to see three women, an infant, a 5 year old girl, and a large, curly haired dog in YOUR space.
As we sat juggling all of our things and prepared to have a conversation that all of us had been awaiting for at least a week, we disturbed you. It wasn’t with our noise, because we weren’t any louder than any rest of the patrons. It wasn’t with our things, they were neatly tucked under the table. It was us. We are out of place in your world. How dare we have an open, honest conversation of this nature in PUBLIC.
As my daughter started to sense that she was being overwhelmed, as she often does, and her mood started to deteriorate, I should have packed her up and taken her home. Children like that need discipline. Children like that shouldn’t be allowed to be in public until they learn to control themselves.
You stared at me and I felt your gaze. It was so hot that if stares could melt, those poor employees would be still mopping me up off that wood floor. You didn’t hear our conversation about how a dog could help my daughter monitor her emotions. You didn’t hear my mother in law voicing her concerns on where a big dog would fit in our lives and in our cars. Goodness, this DOG there with its fancy, blue jacket with “IN TRAINING” emblazoned on it “MEDICAL SERVICE DOG” wasn’t there for a blind person. So obviously, this isn’t a real service dog. How dare we bring a PET into your space. It was sitting underneath the table like a resting rug doing NOTHING that proved service.
Even when Aiden stood up and started pinching me and the dog came out from under the table and started sniffing her, you didn’t see the purpose. All you saw was a dog. All you saw was a “bad kid.”
The dog’s trainer was smiling as she told us that the doggie we will procure will have to learn to be with and without us. This puppy will learn to provide us hope and laughter as well as learning to stop Aiden from running away and having meltdowns.
Instead of hearing that, you had a meltdown of your own. You looked at me as you very pointedly packed your bag. You gave me one last look as you stomped off. I met your gaze with a smile.
Mrs. Perfect, I’m not the one with the problem. Neither is Miss Aiden or the dog. Its you. This isn’t YOUR space. Its ours collectively. And as my firecracker of a grandmother would have said to you, this isn’t about you. None of this is about you. This is about functioning in society. This is about giving an outlet for my anxiety and fears for my child. This world isn’t just for your pearls and your parties. This world is for everyone in it even if they don’t fit inside your bubble. If you want to believe we can live in your snowglobe where everything is perfect, shiny, and its always beautiful, I can’t stop you. But you also can’t stop me from taking care of my kiddo whom I will NOT leave out of society.
If you would have stopped to look around, you would have noticed the myriad of faces surrounding us. You would have notice not one of the others looked particularly upset. You would have seen many kind smiles. You would have felt many soft hearts wishing us well.
You, my upset friend, were the one with the problem. You are not part of my solution. I will not be dissuaded from my task because of the feelings of one lady. I’m sorry that you will see me here often walking my own dog in a blue “IN TRAINING” jacket “MEDICAL SERVICE DOG.” I will continue to smile as you stare. This should not stop you from spreading out your newspapers and wearing your pearls. But I hope you will see that you don’t need to leave. I hope you will notice my efforts to nod good day at you. I am not mad at you. I am not hurt by you. Please don’t be mad or hurt towards me.