Thursday, December 4, 2008


My daughter Joy has had significant difficulties throughout her life. She was born with one crossed (or lazy) eye, which we were unable to correct by glasses until she was 18 months old, which contributed to her slow physical development (why would you want to crawl if you couldn't see anything in front of you?). She started special-education when she was 2 and a half and continued throughout high school with both educational and physical development challenges.

And since high school, she has gained weight, then broke her ankle, was diagnosed with just a sprain, which just complicated the break, and has had surgery on both her foot, ankle and knees. With such weak joints, she isn't able to walk much, which leads to more weight gain. Right now she has to use a cane on days that she works and is on her feet 6-8 hours straight.

And it doesn't help that the only jobs she can keep have been (you guessed it) fast food joints. Free grease-burgers, sodas and shakes. Not a healthy diet.

While on an intellectual level I can appreciate that people look at Joy as 'different,' today I was able to experience it on a completely personal level. I took Joy to her 'favorite' restaurant - Denny's - for lunch.

And I saw what Joy sees probably every day of her life - a couple of girls, probably early 20;'s, sorta chunky themselves (no one would mistake them for glamor models or anything) looking at Joy with a smirk of almost disgust, and whispering to each other.
I reacted much as a bear does when someone threatens one of her cubs - I wanted to race across to these two girls and slam their heads together and toss them out the door.
However, I didn't.
And it made me reflect, rather miserably, on the times that I may have been that smirking, condescending person looking at someone who is not that pretty/clean/straight/whatever.

Sometimes instead of a magnifying glass, we really need a mirror.