I felt the tears sting my eyes and it took every ounce of strength in my body to keep walking and not scream at her. I was devastated. It made me feel sick with anger and pain. Her words still echo in my head every single time I see that cane. I wish I could have found the words to explain to her how that comment made me feel at the time. I wonder how she would have felt if I had walked past her, pointed and said “Oh, look at that poor lady, she is very overweight”
Would that have been any more acceptable!?
I am sure she meant no harm with what she said. She was simply pointing out the obvious in her mind. I am also sure that she would have been extremely embarrassed had she known how hurtful her words were to me, that poor little girls mother.
People now look at Eleanor, not because she is a pretty little girl with a beaming smile (yeah, yeah, I am totally biased, I know!) but because of that neon sign in her hand. I walk around with my gaze slightly down, partly because I am now Eleanor’s eyes. I have to watch out for obstacles she might need to avoid or be made aware of; broken paving slabs which she could trip on or kerbs to step up or down, but partly so I don’t have to see the faces of others as they battle with whether they should smile or pretend they haven’t noticed.
It will certainly take some getting used to. I still can’t quite believe that any of this is actually happening full stop, but one day I know I will be able to walk with my head up, talk to people if they say something which hurts my feelings or catch the eye of the odd stranger and smile, giving them the confidence to smile back and see my daughter for the wonderfully happy and confident little girl she is, instead of ‘that poor little blind girl’.