He was still young enough to be sitting is a car seat. He probably believes in dragons, and fairies and magic. He is the age where the world should be full of wonders, and fun and, unaware of the work of his parents to make it so, safety.

But the world isn’t safe.
And he knows it.
Already.
He is standing outside the car parked outside the movie theatre. He is excitedly talking about the movie. But then he notices being noticed, being stared at, being singled out. He stops talking, he buries his face in his father’s pant leg. Dad reaches down and picks him up. Mother quickly looks around and spots those who are staring. She looks a them with disgust. They turn away. Unashamed. Uncaring.
 I don’t understand.
Different is just different.
Why the need for cruelty?
And no, it wasn’t ‘noticing’ that happened. Noticing is an involuntary recognition of something or someone. I notice when people are tall, or red headed, or fit. So I of course expect people to notice that I am fat, or bald, or a wheelchair user. But notice turns away without judgement. It registers without evaluating. Noticing eyes don’t linger, don’t attack. Staring is a choice. An active choice. Seeing a little boy with Down Syndrome get out of a car in a movie theatre parking lot is one thing, staring at him is another. It may feed your selfish sense of superiority or pity or gratitude to your God. But it poisons the world for him,
A child who sits in a car seat.
A child who believes in dragons.
A child for whom magic will die too soon.
I push my chair past their car and the little boy notices me. He points, then smiles, then waves. I keep moving but wave back. I smile. I give him a wink. He laughs. His mom looks to me. I don’t think she noticed at that moment anything much about me, but her eyes said ‘thanks.’
They shouldn’t need to.
They shouldn’t need to.
They shouldn’t need to.