Sunday, October 28, 2007

Social experiment

It's early. The house is still asleep. I rarely am up before Samuel. I guess he needed more sleep.
Yesterday afternoon I was in desperate need of groceries. I was waiting until Sophia woke from her nap. I heard her and told Samuel to get dressed and get in the car while I got her changed and dressed. This is what I saw when I got to the car.
I had a choice. Let him wear this to the store or wait at least fifteen minutes to let him change. It would be an argument and I wasn't in the mood to put up a fight. So I let him wear it. Let me describe it. Superman pajama bottoms,spiderman knee pads, pirate vest with no shirt, the ever present soccer medal, red winter cap, and to top it off, his US Army helmet.
You would not believe the looks we got in the store. Not from the older generation but from my age group. They would look at Samuel, frown, and then immediately look at me. What kind of mother would let their child wear that out? The first few looks I thought maybe these women are single, or have no children. After a bit, I started getting angry. Not really angry but a little upset. I just wanted a sympathetic smile. An acknowledgement that they had been there and understood. Toward the end of our visit we got two comments, both from the older generation. One sweet lady said,
"Good job,always let them be themselves."
Another woman said,
"He is who he is."
I'm not sure why people's dirty looks bothered me. Hopefully, the people I ran into yesterday are the exception. The beautiful thing about it all was that Samuel walked around the store oblivious. He wasn't embarrassed about his choice of clothes. He was proud. He showed the two old ladies his medal and they gushed over him. We live in a cruel world. I know I can't protect him from it. Kids will laugh at him. People will try to change him. I hope he's strong. My prayer is that he continues to be unique, different. It's what makes him, Samuel.
Guess who just came downstairs? And guess what he's got around his neck? The ever present soccer medal. Man, I love that kid!