Friday, December 17, 2010

'Why Are You Crying Davey?'

"Why do people stare at you so much?"

Ruby was sitting on my lap, she'd finished her food court treat and we were chatting about Christmas. She caught someone gawking from a distance and I said, 'You mean like that woman over there.' She said, quickly, 'Not just her lots of people stare. Why do they stare at you so much?'

I was stuck.

'I don't like it when people stare and me and I don't like it when people stare at you.'

I was still stuck. I looked at her face. She was looking at me earnestly, with absolute trust. I had thought I'd say, 'They are staring at me because they can't believe how lucky I am to know a lovely little girl like you.' But that's not true. I suddenly felt the weight of the question and I felt like Ruby was depending on me to take her question seriously, to take her seriously.

'Because I'm different than other people.'

'No you're not,' she said quickly, 'you're just Davey.'

I gave her a hug trying to keep tears out of my eyes. 'Yes, I'm just Davey to you, but they don't know my name. They don't know me like you do. They see me as being bigger than them and they see me in my wheelchair.'

I felt like I'd struggled through those words.

'That's what I already said, silly,' she said patting my shoulder with her hand, 'You're just Davey.'

I am that.

I'm just Dave.

How I pray one day that what Ruby knows the entire world and everyone that lives in it one day will understand.


theknapper said...

May she always see the world this way. What an amazing human being she is and bravo to you for telling her your give her an experience of an adult who is able to talk about the hard stuff.

tekeal said...

that could be a tshirt: "I'm just Davey". the gifts you share with ruby are very touching, thanks again for sharing.

Joyfulgirl said...

what a wonderful little girl and what a blessing to have her in your lives.

Sher said...

Serious questions deserve serious answers....even when they are from children.....or people with developmental disabilities. I recall an adult that I was supporting asking me when she would be able to return to her home that was being renovated, after many people had skimmed over her question. I had assured her that she would be returning, but I suspect because she had been moved so many times in her life, she didn't believe me. She finally said "when!". I answered her with an honest "I don't know". Then I set about to advocate for this ultra-compliant woman to the powers that be. People's questions deserve serious answers, so thank you Dave for valuing Ruby enough to tell her the truth instead of "prettying" it up as we often like to do. Sometimes there is life-changing learning is in the ugly truth. Blessings to you and yours.

Andrea S. said...

Agreed with coffeetalk

I was once at an event where one woman described how her mother died when she was 16 ... and she had had no idea that she was dying, she was basically the last person in the family to be told. She ended up feeling profoundly betrayed for years and lost her sense of trust. I guess they had been trying to "protect" her from the truth, but her family didn't seem to grasp that sometimes "protection" from truth can hurt far, far more than the truth itself, no matter how bad the truth seems. It can be kinder, at least in the long run, to deliver a harsh truth than it is to deliver a gentle lie however well intended.

Jenny said...

But you are not 'just Dave' from what I can see! You are Davey to Ruby, you are an inspiration to me and many others, you are the Dave that can lecture/talk to thousands of people each year, sharing your expeiences and others. You are Dave the friend to many and I can't speak for Joe, but you are someone very special to a lot of people. There's no 'just' about it., you are Dave. :) From what I've seen on your blog, you're the big bloke with the big heart and big smile! :) Have a safe and happy Christmas! :)

Moose said...

I have friends with 3 kids.

There was a big gap between when I saw them at 7/3/2 and when I saw them at 9/5/4. The earlier visit, I was just Auntie Moose.

At the 2nd visit the younger two kept saying to me, "You're fat." The parents and I were surprised by this [the oldest had never seemed to come home with any sort of sizism, which the parents don't have at all, but the youngest were clearly getting it from somewhere].

Finally the oldest child got tired of the younger ones asking me, "Why are you so fat?" and said, "This is Auntie Moose, this is how she's always been." That quieted the younger two. (Well, about *that*, at least :-)