Thursday, July 17, 2014

The sweet little lady at the pharmacy.... and why I want to punch her in the face

We're pharmacy frequent shoppers...

it should be a club.

Between 2 asthmatics, one puking pregnant mama and whatever else pops up throughout the year, here's a typical phone call with our local pharmacy...

"Hey "insert name", it's Lindsay... can I get "rx name" filled for Hunter, please?"

"Hi Mrs. Smith! Sure! Give me 10 minutes!"

No last name needed... no birth dates... nothin.

And I'm ok with that! These kinds of phone calls make my life much easier ;-)

Our pharmacy is part of a large chain 'drug store' that you've probably heard of.... there's probably one less than 1.3 miles from your house, in fact... on every corner.

When I combine rx pick-ups and personal care/ necessities in one trip, I like to check out at the cosmetic counter...

those girls always have coupons.

Did you know that?!?! They do... always. 

Anyway, one woman has been working at our cosmetic counter for as long as we've lived here... 8+ years. She's slightly older... a gramma, maybe? She's tiny and looks so distinguished when she slips on her tiny glasses in order to read through her coupons. She has huge giveaway baskets every week that are chalk full of super-cute body care and perfume samples and every time you check out, she enters your name in the giveaway... I've filled out thousands but have never won. But I'm not bitter. At all. Her hair is gray and she wears it in a cute top knot... 

actually, I think she invented the top knot. Pretty sure.

She always chats with my babies when we're shopping... asks Hannah about school, does her best (along with the rest of the store) to distract Hunter from the fact that he's stuck in a shopping cart (it doesn't usually work), and chats with me about her 'usuals' or the small town gossip. She's sweet.

Until it's time to say 'bye-bye.'

Our newest thought is that Hunter has some form of speech apraxia... a disconnect between his brain and the muscles in his mouth. He follows directions perfectly (correction... he CAN follow directions perfectly... but sometimes chooses not to... like his mama... or daddy ;-)), his receptive language is strong, his understanding of his surroundings and the role he plays is flawless.... you can physically SEE him forming thoughts and words in his mind... but he can't say them.


His hearing loss compounds things slightly and we're working so hard with lots of speech therapy and we're all beefing up our sign language skills... but he gets frustrated. We do, too. He wants something and can't tell us... he got hurt and can't tell us... he wants to play with you but can't tell you... 

He can bring you a book and you know he wants to read... he can sign 'water' and you know he's thirsty... but if you're in the car and can't see him or aren't looking at him at the time, his ways of communicating are minimum.

We see his frustration the most when we play with other kids his age...

he knows he's different.

And it's one of the hardest things we've ever had to watch.

Our determination is as strong as his... helping him find ways of communicating while his language slowly develops is our full-time priority on a daily basis.

Our cosmetic counter lady...

She always says 'bye-bye' to my kids... 

sweet, huh?

She waits for a response every.single.time. Hannah will politely say 'bye' and sometimes Hunter will wave... but that's not good enough for her...

She wants the words... and every.single.time she says "bye-bye" and he doesn't say it back, I can sense her judgement.

and yesterday, I wanted to punch her in the face.

"Isn't he 2 years old?"

"He is."


Sweet gray haired lady, meet my fist.

"I don't owe her an explanation... and if I were him, I wouldn't say 'bye-bye', either!"...

My first thoughts upon quickly leaving storming out of the store.

Judging... MY KID.

How dare you.

And then my sweet neighbor of 8 years passed away...

and we didn't know that she had been sick.

We've seen her plenty of times over the past year, walking her dog or gardening, and she had lost weight... she looked amazing! And I told her so each time I saw her...

"I see you out walking all the time... you look so wonderful! Your hard work is paying off!"

And then she died...

from cancer that she's been fighting for a year.

From a cancer that had slowly been wasting her away for a year.

She never told me...

And even though my 'judgements' felt helpful and encouraging at the time... now they sound inconsiderate and cruel.

She was dying.

And I told her she looked amazing.



I won't tolerate judgements made on my children... and I'm not above punching you in the face (ok, figuratively), should you insult them.

But maybe I DO owe her an explanation...? 

"His speech is delayed a little but he's learning! Keep saying 'bye-bye' to him and one day soon, you'll get one back!"

A simple explanation.

I sure wish my precious neighbor had given me one... and I'm sure going to miss her :-(

I stopped in to see her sister yesterday evening...

"Why didn't she tell me?" I asked.

"She didn't want any special treatment." She said.

Would I have treated her differently, had I known? Maybe. Maybe not. But I would have understood...

And that is more valuable than anything.

Maybe I'll offer up an opportunity for understanding before I punch anyone in the face...

"Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them!"
~ Luke 6:31

He's already the best big brother :-)


  1. A little off the topic, but have you looked into Music Therapy for your son? During my internship, we evaluated a child with expressive aphasia for an IEP and found that she responded well to Music Therapy and would benefit from services. Similar to stroke patients, it may be possible for individuals with aphasias to communicate through singing rather than speaking, since a different part of the brain processes singing. Eventually, the music can be phased out and the person can speak much more easily.

  2. At times we do need to explain to people what is going on and why our children aren't normal. Some people do not know or are not exposed to people with disabilities so they think talking at 2 is the norm and everyone should do it. Before my son was born, I didn't have any contact with anyone with Down Syndrome. I had to look up stuff on the internet to figure it all out before he was born, but at the same time, there are different severities of it. I still feel like when the meet my son, I need to tell them he has DS because I don't see it in him all the time. Sometimes I can not tell if others in public have it or not as well. If we explain, or offer up information about the disabilities in our children, we are informing those around us. Many times me speaking up leads into other conversations.


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