"You look tired," says the unassuming clerk at the grocery store to the mom with two kids. One, a bouncy little girl with golden curls, rides in the car in front of the cart while the other, a boy of maybe two, stares blankly into space in the front basket, supported by the blankets on either side of him. His tongue escapes his mouth a bit and there is a little drip of drool on his chin. A plastic tube protrudes from his neck, and he makes a noisy sound each time he breathes.
"Tired?" the young mom shakes her head and chuckles. "Yes, I suppose I am tired. I'm tired of my son's life having to be so hard. I'm tired of every achievement finally coming only after months of therapy and exercise. I'm tired of the looks that other people give the son that I love so much. I'm tired of the stares I can feel even when I'm not looking. I'm tired of the rude and insensitve comments people make. I'm tired of the phrases mentally retarded, compared to normal children, and severe learning delays. I'm tired of the petty complaints people have about how their kids talk too much when all I wish for is for my son to say Momma. I'm tired of the medical bills that we can't afford to pay, yet we find the money because we want to give our son the best chance at life. I'm tired of feeling like I live at the hospital more than my house. I'm tired of feeling isolated, even from the friends who want to understand but just can't. I'm tired of doctors attempting to dictate what my son will and will not be able to do. But most of all, I'm tired of others being too afraid to look past my son's outer appearance to discover the joy and love he holds inside."
With that, the courageous young mother kissed her son on the top of his head and pushed her cart to the exit of the store. If she had looked back over her shoulder, she may have noticed the tears streaming down the cheeks of the clerk.