Thursday, November 10, 2011

My favorite Halloween princess

A beautiful princess in pink came to my door on Halloween. Her mother helped her up one step at a time. With much encouragement, she pushed a button that said “Trick or Treat” for her. I handed her a small, orange and black bag of pumpkin- and bat-shaped pretzels. Her father handed me a slip of paper that told me she had Rett Syndrome, that she was doing her best and she wished me a "boo-tiful" night.

I found my way to the website printed on the paper, read what she and her family are up against, and began to cry. From there, I found my way to the Girl Power 2 Cure Facebook page and found this Halloween-night post:

“Tonight a lot of creatures will visit your door. Be open minded. The child who is grabbing more than one piece of candy might have poor fine motor skills. The child who takes forever to pick out one piece of candy might have motor planning issues. The child who does not say trick or treat or thank you might be shy or non-verbal. The child who looks disappointed when he sees your bowl might have an allergy. The child who isn't wearing a costume at all might have SPD or autism. The child who is screaming at the top of her lungs probably can't help it. Be nice. Be patient. Its everyone's Halloween.”

One of the fun things about being a wannabe writer is people-watching and pretending they are characters in a story. I can sit in an airport for hours and create whole backstories on the elegant middle-aged woman in a suit with slender legs neatly crossed at the ankles, the young couple in dreadlocks, the large woman with a beautiful smile

But as they say, it’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye -- when we start writing the stories that assume the worst about people. Then we start believing those stories and telling them to others. There’s the rotten mother story -- that one’s popular. The man with lung cancer who obviously (obviously!) smoked himself to death. There’s the horror story of the lazy, gluttonous, slovenly fat person -- that one’s a best-seller.

It’s been said that you should “never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” Maybe we should also never attribute to weakness that which may be adequately explained by happenstance or just plain bad luck.

I don’t know what burdens others are carrying. Sometimes when I find out, I marvel at their strength.


  1. Beautiful post. And something we all need to remember when dealing with others.