We’ve driven well over a thousand miles in two days. This has meant hours and hours of sitting in a car, I finished a long book, with a punishingly small font, somewhere near the end of the trip. This has also meant that we’ve seen our share of food courts.

This is our preferred form of dining on the road, it’s quick, it’s cheap, it’s full of choice and it’s always accessible. We find a mall near the interstate and then head in. For me the other benefit of food courts is that they are so democratic. They offer entrance to all, and that invitation is accepted. Perfect for people watching, perfect source for blog writing.

Our last food court, until we head home, was packed when we arrived. But we found a table easily enough because they had designated table for people with disabilities and the little blue symbol, surprisingly, had been respected by the mob.

As we ate I noticed a little child, a girl, maybe 2, in company of a woman with Down Syndrome. They were just finishing up their lunch when we took our places at our table. The child was crawling all over the woman who was laughing and playing with her.

And it struck me.

I can’t even guess what the relationship of that woman with Down Syndrome is to that child. She was clearly there alone with her. The child was clearly and definitely in love with her. And while some in the court, because you always need to remember the word ‘court’ when you are in one, she shruggled off their disapproving stares.

Was she the child’s mother?

People with intellectual disabilities often have their children snatched from them by those in agnecies which believe that it’s acceptable to take kids based on who a person is rather than what a person does. But I know recently there have been cases fought and won by people with intellectual disabilities to be allowed to parent and unless parenting goes wrong are left alone.

Was she one of them?

I don’t know.

But I never thought to see the day that a once impossible dream becomes real to the woken.

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