Beautiful & Squishy

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I saw it coming a mile away.  Looking up and seeing a very large woman in a wheelchair next to the Lizard Lair at the zoo, I knew Caden would ask, “why is she so fat?  Is there something wrong with her? Is she going to DIE???” He is always worried and concerned and what comes out of his mouth is not always socially correct, but he says it how he sees it in the most innocent harmless manner.  That is what I thought was going to happen, but it didn’t. Caden started running in front of me, and ran right over to the woman. Because Caden seeks input for sensory, he LOVES jiggly things and squishy things, especially on body parts.  I learned this very early with him as he loves to play with my butt, telling me how jiggly it is. Such a self esteem booster and reality check at the same time. I couldn’t stop what was about to happen. It was going to be horrific. He walked over to the woman and sort of hugged her belly as he rubbed his hand over it.  I was mortified! Time was frozen and I felt every zoo goer staring in judgment. I ran over as fast as I could to apologize. Caden didn’t think she was ugly because she was fat, or that she didn’t belong… he saw her as different and interesting, and lovable and squishy. The older woman had tears in her eyes and my heart stopped beating and I couldn’t breathe.  In that split second I thought I was going to die… and everyone was waiting to see what was going to happen. She looked up at me and then at Caden and smiled. She said, “I have been sitting here all day by myself, and not one person has spoke to me, not even a hello.” She knew Caden meant no harm and she could feel his innocence. She too knew he was different.  They had a connection and it was amazing to watch. My son had given a gift not only to this woman, but to me and my husband. The gift of joy and happiness in that moment. These are the moments we look back on and make us smile and warm our heart.


Angela Wingard