The Lies We Tell As Special Needs Moms

I told a lie about my child. You’re probably expecting a joke or a silly pun right about that. Not today. 
 
I brought my daughter with me to the drugstore to buy eye drops (and shampoo and lip balm and a travel sized hairspray and milk. I need to get this impulse buying thing under control). As I stood in the skin care aisle (I also bought hand cream) Avery picked up various bottles and tubes and chattered away. Then she spontaneously hugged the guy who was stocking shelves next to us. She’s tactile and a hugger without boundaries, obviously. 
 
All the while a young female clerk was casting glances our way. Later at the checkout that same clerk was organizing the magazines. She asked, “How old is she?” An innocent question, but one I’ve come to hate nonetheless. I understand why people ask. ALL THE TIME. They’re just trying to figure Avery out. She looks her age-ish physically, but her social graces and immature speech patterns make her appear much, much younger. “How old is she?” is an attempt to make sense of the disparity. 
 
“How old is she?” asked the clerk. “She’s four,” I answered. 
 
I told her my daughter is four when she’s bloody well five. I didn’t just make a mistake. I’m fully aware of her age. I just made a birthday cake with five candles to mark the occasion. She’s five years old. 
 
It felt ridiculous the second the lie passed my lips. I deliberately claimed she was a year younger than she is. 
 
Why does it matter what a random stranger thinks? I shouldn’t care, but sometimes I do. 
 
Sometimes fudging the truth just feels easier. An explanation requires energy and emotional fortitude.
 
Why I feel the need to “explain” my child to strangers is a whole other issue. An issue that should be a non-issue by now. As I get used to this gig as a special needs mama, I’m learning how to advocate and educate and celebrate. No excuses. Just the facts—the fabulous truths that make this little girl child so unique in the most wonderful ways. 
 
Those who matter in my life, know our story. They know how old Avery is. Did I mention she’s five? Not four. Just to be clear. 🙂
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