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A Close Encounter . . . or, My Stalking Finally Pays Off

Posted Mar 29 2010 12:00am

I'll admit it: I like to do my grocery shopping on Monday mornings because I know "Linda" (not her real name) works on Monday mornings. She's the girl who bags groceries at my supermarket, and who has Down syndrome (Michael talked to her once and posted about it here ). And who has been the object of my secret admiration for months.

I've always wanted to say something to her, open up a conversation, you know? But what? How? I mean, do I just say, "Hey, my kid has Down syndrome just like you!" Uh, no, I don't think so. And really, I don't want to bother her while she's working anyway. And there's a part of me, too, that feels like I have no right to intrude on her life just because it so happens that I ended up with a child who has the same diagnosis she has.

But still. I like to do my shopping when I know she'll be there. And I like to take Finn with me, and purposely go in her checkout line. I always hope she'll look at Finn and . . . I don't know . . . just know, I guess. I guess I've been waiting for her to open a conversation.

Anyway, so this morning I took Finn and Lilah to do our grocery shopping and we got in her checkout line and as she's bagging our groceries, she admires Finn's faux hawk. She asks me how I get his hair like that, and I tell her with gel. "He lets you?" she asks. "Well, he struggles, but I manage." Then she tells me how that's just like when she was little, she remembers her mom trying to fix her hair and how she didn't like it. She's cooing at Finn and saying how cute he is. So I take a deep breath and smile and say, "He has Down syndrome, too." Her eyes lit up and she said, "Does he?" "Yes, he does," I tell her. She said, "He can work here with me when he grows up."

I'm still smiling. I mean, it was really a very mundane and brief conversation, but it was seriously thrilling for me.
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