“Are you handicapped?”

Believe it or not, my wife was asked this very question as she struggled to get both kids, all their assorted “stuff,” and herself into the car to leave a birthday party.  Seriously.

A little background: Rebekah, our youngest daughter, is 18 months old and functioning somewhere around a 6-month level.  This means she is the size and weight of an 18 month-old, but can’t do things that are usually taken for granted like walk, sit up, or even hang onto your arm as you carry her on your hip.  In addition to this, she also deals with extreme sensitivity to cold/wind.  Because of her neurological problems and developmental delays, we have a disabled parking permit for her.

I’m not sure what made this perfect stranger walk up to my wife and ask her this question.  Who made her part of the disabled parking enforcement team?  Is the legal, valid placard hanging from our mirror not enough for her?  Obviously not, since her followup comment was something along the lines of, “Oh, because it was obvious you could walk.”

I’m actually somewhat glad I wasn’t there–I probably would have let my reactionary human nature share some not-so-nice things with her and regretted it later.  My wife was much more gracious, but left completely and utterly flabbergasted that someone could be so completely clueless and callous at the same time.  Even now, days later, I’m still somewhat stunned thinking about it.

So, dear stranger lady, I pray that you and everyone in your family may never have to go through what our family has experienced in the last year.  And, if you and your family are ever are affected by having someone in the family with a disability like Rebekah’s, may you always be safe from ignorant busybodies asking you “Are you handicapped?”

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