Last weekend we went to the county fair. Almost immediately upon walking in and into the barn area, while looking at the Watusi cow (have you seen one? They are awesome!) a little girl in a wheelchair rolled up next to us. Jack loudly asked (because he's 4 and the only volumes a 4 year old knows are loud, louder and whispering so quietly that I can't hear) "What is that wheelchair for?" At first I cringed a little inside, as I know most parents do, and then I took a breath and said "Baby, she hurt her leg so she needs help to get around" and that was that.
But as I thought about it, I'm glad he asked and I'm glad I responded. Because then I started to remember two summers ago...when I had no hair and was pregnant out to there. And people stared and looked away and ignored me. I would have been happy if some kid asked why I didn't have any hair, and their parent took the time to explain it to them, or even told them "I don't know baby, why don't you ask the lady yourself?" An honest question asked and answered, no matter how uncomfortable the parties are, is a million times better than a silent stare.
Jack knows that I have scars all over... I haven't hidden them from him because I wanted him to know mama has ouchies, but they are healing and will eventually get better. He knows that mama has been "sick" before. I don't want him or AR to ever be afraid to ask about people's differences but I also want them to understand that those differences are completely okay, that everyone has their own scars, their own abilities, their own normal.