To the couple who paid for our dinner:
We were on vacation last week in Rhode Island. It was our first vacation since our son was born, and to be honest, I was nervous about going. Our son, has an extremely rare genetic disorder coupled with a heart condition. You didn’t know that. You also didn’t know that our trip to 99 Restaurant on June 22 was his first time inside of a restaurant, and I was terrified. I walked in and the first thing I did was pull out a bottle of sanitizer and wipe down the high chair and table. I looked up and saw you staring at me. I looked at my sister and husband and said, “I must look like a crazy person doing this.” They reassured me I didn’t, but I still felt like one. You see, we have to be very careful about my son getting sick. Something beyond a cold could mean a trip to the hospital because of his heart. We spent all winter at home, to keep him away from the germs. I didn’t even want to go to the restaurant that night, but quite frankly, the kid needs to be in public and experience things. So, we went.
But being in public, outside of our usual community, was something that made me nervous, scared, and protective. You didn’t know that either. My ten month old doesn’t look like any other 10 month old you or I have ever seen. He’s got muscles covering his body, not fat. His cheeks don’t puff out in chunkiness, but rather sink in. He is the most beautiful boy I have ever seen, but he’s different. That vacation was so hard for me to watch people look at him with puzzled looks on their faces. I get why, but that didn’t mean I liked it.
When I saw you looking at us that night, I felt protective and angry. So many awful thoughts ran through my head. I wanted to know what you were thinking. Iwanted to explain him to you. I wanted to yell at you and tell you that staring is rude, and that if you had questions, all you had to do was ask. I want to do that to everyone who looks for too long at my son. I’m proud of my son. But this is all new territory for me and I’m learning how to deal with it.
I judged you, without knowing you, because that’s what I thought you were doing to my son. To learn halfway through dinner, that you had paid for our dinners but didn’t want us to know until after you left, left me speechless and ashamed. You weren’t judging me or my son. I thought the worst of you, when I shouldn’t have. I am thankful, not just for you helping and paying for our dinner, but for the lessons you taught me. You, without meaning to, made me feel comfortable being out in public with my family and there are no words that can express what that means to me.
I have no idea who you are and you may never see this, although I do hope this makes it to you by people sharing it, but thank you anyway. You did something for me that I needed, but didn’t know how to accomplish on my own.
God bless you,
Kara Nick and Julian