Dani and Jay Polaroid.jpg

by Danielle M. 

A little over 16 years ago we got the diagnosis of our son’s condition – Dwarfism – more specifically, Achondroplasia.  My heart sank because I just pictured a world that would forever be looking at my son and not in a positive way.  My husband and I feared that he would not be accepted and, even worse, ridiculed.  For the most part my fears have been unfounded.  Everyone who knows my son loves him and is so thankful to have him in their lives.  Our geneticist told us on that first visit that he believes the gene that gets mutated in these children gets replaced with a happy gene.  I believe that too.  My son and everyone I have been fortunate enough to meet in my LPA (Little People of America) family is absolutely amazing.  Their smiles and attitudes are like medicine for the soul.  And those people who embrace them and get to know them are forever changed in a positive way.  Unfortunately though there are those stare, whisper and point.  We encounter them in our everyday lives and it leaves me wishing for a day when my husband, my son and I can just go to the mall or the grocery store and be like every other “normal” family with no one noticing us – or more specifically – my son.  When they whisper to each other and point him out and stare, he notices.  He looks for it.  I just feel the mood being drug down and know at any second he’s going to start walking behind me or my husband so people won’t notice him. 

You may wonder how my husband and I handle it.  All the questions from him – why did God have to make me this way?  Why do they have to stare?  Will it ever stop?  I tell him that I don’t know why, but that God wanted him to stand out in a crowd. He didn’t want me or his father, but he did want him.  I tell him they stare because they are just trying to figure it out.  When they see him at first glance they think he’s young because of his size, but they look harder because his face is much more mature and he’s built like a brick you know what.  They whisper because he’s like the family they’ve seen on TV.  And finally – no – it will never stop.  No matter how hard we pray, how much we educate, it will never stop. We’re human after all.  I tell him that he tends to look a little longer at someone in a wheelchair because he’s trying to figure out why they’re in there.  It doesn’t make him a bad person, it makes him curious.  But if he smiles while he’s trying to figure it out it makes that person feel better about him looking.  Maybe that’s the tiny lesson we should teach our kids.  Don’t point, whisper or stare – just smile.  It sure would help me and my LPA family have a normal day every now and then, like every average size family has the privilege of enjoying.