The guest band was rocking. I stood by the ice cream truck watching my daughter do her wacky dance. She’d led us over to the truck and kept periodically asking for ice cream and pointing to the pictures on the truck, but just about the time we’d cue up for a dip, she’d take off in a crazed spasm of movement as the band blasted out another number. That’s my girl.
As I stood at the conclusion of the Best Buddies tee. In bold, bright, yellow letters, were the words: “YOU.” They were preceded by letters of equal size in black: “I SEE.” Clever. And how poignant.
It is important for each of us to be seen. Not for our gorgeous locks, perfect makeup or cool clothing or hip digs, but for who we really are….A priceless person. Creations of the Great Divine. Another human being. Who and what we are underneath all the societal trappings.
The “I SEE YOU” sentiment was important enough that the Belmont University Best Buddies Chapter placed the wording on their tee because too often we don’t see people who are so variantly different than our societal norm.
My insides smart when I recall my first experience of my child not being seen. We were in the waiting room of our family physician. There was a cute child playing on the floor and there was Grace, maybe about age eight. She’s cute, too, but she began doing something unusual. Maybe babbling nonsensically. Something that cued those who had regarded her kindly or nonchalantly to stiffen and look down or away. Suddenly, it was as if we were not there. Ouch.
I recall another similar incident in that same office. Again, Grace was with me. Two young adult men with developmental disAbilities were waiting to be seen as well. A paraprofessional was accompanying them. They babbled, spoke garbled, smiled widely and looked all around the room with curiosity. All those things that socialized society is taught not to do. Sadly. One of them wore a seizure or self-injurious protection helmet.
The office was quiet and people looked down uncomfortably at their laps. I moved closer and began engaging them in simple conversation. They smiled at me delightedly. The one of them that could speak, spoke back. At some point their assistant thanked me for talking to them. Most people, she said, ignore them.
Seeing the beauty that is the essence of every sentient being is important. Very.
I SEE YOU.