I almost didn't share what happened to us at The Bank of Kentucky Center. I guess I've seen too many times where someone posted an experience and they were supported and criticized in equal measure (or sometimes not so equal measure--too often the bad outweighs the good). I pictured telling our story and getting a barrage of comments like: "You should keep your daughter under control." or "Why didn't you just leave that girl at home where she couldn't bother anyone?"
But I thought it was an important story to tell. My daughter can't speak. I am her voice. So I dove in and told you all what happened. And you know what? Over 2,000 people read that post and I didn't receive a single negative comment. Instead, you all shared our story. You called Grace beautiful! (She is, but some people don't see it.) You supported us.
Maybe this is naive, but I've always believed that most people are good. That we have more in common than we realize. Sometimes we just speak out of ignorance.
I'm choosing to believe that's what happened two Fridays ago. I believe the man who asked us to leave The Bank of Kentucky Center wouldn't have done so: 1) had he known it was illegal to do so, and 2) he had more experience with people living with disabilities (or those of us who are "different" disabled or not.)
What I'm happiest about is that we started what I hope will be a continuing dialogue about loving and accepting those of us who are "different". Maybe we can revise our definition of "normal". Or better yet, get rid of it all together. After all, we're all different, some of us are just better at hiding it than others.
With that, I leave you with this video of Grace that shows some of her "happy" behaviors.