"You need to get the face," she said.
We were talking at the break in the lecture day and she'd approached me sitting quietly at the lecture table. Often people come with questions and while I normally don't mind, I was tired and therefore pleased that she'd just come to chat.
"Yes, the face," she said. "When you were telling about that guy who came to talk to you about 'the cosmos' and 'positive vibrations' and 'being healed' I realized that you probably had never been told about The Face."
"OK, I'm curious, what's The Face?"
"I'm a member of a parents group, we've all got kids with Down Syndrome. A couple of years ago we started talking about 'the face'. We each discovered that we'd learned to put on 'the face' when we went out with our kids. It's a face that says 'I love my kid. I'm out with my kid. Don't you dare mess with me and my kid.' We've all discovered that you've got to have 'the face' if you are going to stay sane.'
I asked her to show me the face. She laughed and said ok, she turned around away from me and then turned back. She was definately wearing 'the face'. It was fearsome, it was proud and it was defiant. Then her face dissolved into laughter and then she demanded that I try. So I did. She laughed and said, 'No, that's just an angry face, you'll get people saying, 'you all right bud?' I laughed and told her that people do say that to me all the time. The break flew by as we just chatted and I tried on different faces, never quite getting it.
I've got the day off today and we're going to the movies and to the mall, I'm going to try 'The Face' and see if I can get it right. And I'm going to watch for other parents of kids with disabilities and see if they wear 'the face'.
I'm curious, if you are reading this and have a kid with a disability - do you wear 'the face'? If you have a disability or go out with those with disabilities, do you wear 'the face'?
What a great idea. There should be a handbook given out to those in the disability world ... How To Get The Face.