I heard music coming from the locker next to mine. At least it is how it appeared to me as the music overhead was competing with the faint sounds I heard coming from elsewhere. As I placed my zippered jacket on the hook and took the water out of my purse, I couldn't help wonder where exactly the source of the other music was.
A conversation then ensued between what I thought were two people - a mother and her young daughter perhaps. The mother instructing the daughter to be quiet. The music I heard once again. It was not coming from the locker next to mine, rather from the dressing room behind me where I heard talking.
A lady opened the dressing room door, her hair still wet from the shower she took after her workout. She was still talking whilst holding a device playing music. The headphones were nowhere in sight. I looked for the other person but could not see anyone else emerge from the dressing room.
She must have sensed my confusion and promptly apologised. 'I'm sorry for my speech impediment', she said. I didn't know what to say but felt a desire to connect with her somehow - to engage in conversation. 'My son also has a speech impediment' I heard myself saying. He does, it was not a lie, and he is getting help at school for it.
'Oh, does he also have ADHD with Aspergers?' she continued. I wasn't sure I'd ever heard of both conditions applying to a person at the same time. I went on to explain my son has trouble speaking words clearly, most likely due to the confusion of sounds from having grown up with three different languages. At least that is what I believe is the case. She told me I should have it checked out.
'My oldest has dyslexia' I offered further, wanting to continue talking with her. It is true. She was diagnosed with dyslexia in Germany in the past month. The lady informed me that her 30-year old brother was diagnosed with dyslexia when he was younger but got help and has graduated college. She went on to instruct me to get help for my daughter as well.
I found myself fascinated with this lady's story and wanted to know more. However, I did not wish to appear rude or nosy. I am guessing she has had her share of people presuming something which was far from the truth based solely on the initial encounter. I closed my locker and grabbed the bottle of water I brought with me along with my headphones attached to my little iPod shuffle. 'It was nice to meet you' I stated as I walked away. And it really was.
Such is the case with humans in general. We make assumptions based on someone's look - how they dress, how they style their hair, and how they choose to accessorize - if at all. Rarely do we stop to put ourselves in their shoes and wonder how or what they think. We all have a story, some perhaps more interesting than others but each unique nonetheless.
All three of my children are unique in their own way. Saffron is great at drawing but not math, Cinnamon excels at math and reading, and Sage is the builder with his focus on precision. One is in no way better than the others as they are each their own person - something which could be seen today during their time at the hair salon for long overdue haircuts. Sage insisted Lauren cut his hair shorter. 'More', he kept saying. Seena as was happy to have her hair straightened and smooth but wishes to have her hair longer.
Encouraging their strengths, instead of focusing on their shortcomings, should be our goal as parents without presumptions of any kind. It is something we should be doing every day and not waiting for that 'perfect' moment in the future.
The future is a gift and one we should cherish when it arrives in the form of the present day. When we learn to appreciate today instead of always longing for tomorrow, our lives will be more fulfilled.