Today, Mama C, and I had an unfortunate experience regarding strangers and G that I wanted to share. We were having lunch as a family with our friend Cherisse and a few other friends for her birthday. In the beginning of the meal, I put G in his high chair and started feeding him some baby food and let him gnaw on a piece of pineapple to help him work with his textures. At some point during my time feeding him, our friend Kelly who was facing me says to me “I’m sorry, but the people behind you are laughing at G and taking pictures and it’s really making me angry”. There were three younger adults at the table behind us who, unbeknownst to me, were having some laughs at G’s expense.
My dad instinct kicked in and I immediately turned around and asked them if they’d been taking pictures of G. One of the girls at the table started mumbling something and I asked for clarification. Eventually, after a few more things I couldn’t understand, she said that G was getting the pineapple in his eye and they were “concerned”. I had been keeping a pretty good eye on G and had never seen this happen, so I didn’t know what to say. I asked about whether they had been taking pictures of him, and they denied it again and told me: “You seem really self-absorbed, so you should probably get back to your conversation at the table.” I’m not a tough, nor cool guy, so I didn’t know what to say so I simply said “OK” and turned around. Several friends at the table confirmed that they had seen the people at the table snickering and taking pictures of G with their phone.
It absolutely broke me and mama C’s heart. There are so many reasons that we were upset. First, it’s so hurtful to think that someone would look at our little man and think that something he was doing was funny enough to want to share and laugh with their own friends about in a private manner. Second, it was a present reminder of what our kids will go through as they age…people will laugh at G, make fun of G. And he’s already got so many challenges to overcome. Third, it’s a lot of work to take G to a restaurant…he’s not easy to situate in a chair and he doesn’t love sitting on his own, so we usually end up holding him. Naturally, we love holding him, but now on top of that effort, we have to realize that some people will possibly disparage or laugh at him. Really?
The main thing that was hard to swallow was that these were people were obviously old enough to know better. They must have been in their 20s to 30s. Old enough to know better. I would expect to deal with this type of thing from 5-10 year olds…but hipsters in their 20s? Why is a little boy who has trouble holding his head up funny? Why is there a reason to take a picture of him? So he can’t look us in the eyes? Why is that funny? Why is that worth a picture?
Tough. Tough. Tough to deal with as a parent and a believer in Jesus. Tough to think of what G and his sister will deal with as they grow. How do I balance being a loving, protective father of my sweet little boy with being someone who does not retaliate?
“When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.” – 1 Peter 2:23.
In happier news….here’s our little rock-star today partying in his “My Little Seat” chair. We know many of the grandparents love videos, so we try to keep you entertained.