A note from Mommy:
Now would be a good time to stop reading if you don't want to hear about a sad experience out in the community. OK here goes. Peyton's cousin Dylan was having a birthday party at Kangaroo Zoo - a local bouce house place. Peyton was invited along and I met her and Glenda after work. Most of the children were older and so for much of the time Peyton was bouncing alone in the little kid houses. She was having a ball despite the big ole cast.
Later some smaller children showed up. While in one of the bounce houses a little girl around Peyton's age was staring at Peyton. I'm not sure if she knew I was with Peyton since I was standing there, but she turns to me and says, "She's weird." I was stunned for a moment and then she continued by saying, "That tooth looks weird." Then as Peyton walked by her, she pretended to be scared and backed away from her. Now this could have been a teaching moment. OK it should have been a teaching moment. Normally, when children see Peyton they have questions - does that hurt, why does she need that, what is that - they don't usually make a statement that is hurtful. I'll admit it - my Mama Bear claws came out but I said as nicely as I could, "That's not a very nice thing to say" and I scooped P up and walked away. Now this is a small place and when I went to go sit down her mother was sitting at the table next to us. I am pretty sure I hurt her feelings (or maybe scared her) because the rest of the time we were there she stuck pretty close to her mom and kept looking at me out of the corner of her eye.
So as Peyton continued to play I stewed about what had just happened. I was disappointed in how I reacted. I know this will not be the last time and I know Peyton didn't even realize what had just happened but the next time she might and the next time I may not be there. I know I won't be able to protect her from these moments for the rest of her life, but damnit, I wanted to protect her for just a little longer!
Just a few minutes later as I was holding Peyton another little girl walked up to us and with the sweetest voice said, "I really like her piggy tails." I choked out a thank you while trying not to burst out crying. So instead of this being a teaching moment for the first little girl, it became a teaching moment for me. There will be plenty of people like that little girl that will see Peyton as different and not in a good way. But there will also be people like the second little girl too who will restore my faith in the world. So thanks to both of the little girls I encountered today.
Peyton Nicole Smith