She was easy to miss. Her son commands attention. He is big, loud and talks all the blessed time. He is a wonderful, loving boy who is profoundly delayed. She is as quiet as he is loud and usually blends into the background.
Derrick is fascinated with my two year old, so my encounters with him and his mom have often been all about keeping my little one safe as Derrick is unaware of his strength and lacks the social boundaries of most eleven year olds.
We've been sitting together for eight weeks now and I don't even know her name. But last week was different. Maybe it was the sigh she let out as she settled onto the world's most uncomfortable bench in the cramped viewing room. I'm certain she wasn't aware of it, but the sound penetrated my wall of busyness and I looked again.
I no longer saw a quiet women with dowdy clothes and roots that really need attending to. I saw uncertainty. I saw a mom who has ambitions and hopes for her son but they may never get realized. I saw a woman who may attend a graduation but not a wedding. Someone who will help her son get a job but most likely never a career. Someone who loves her son deeply and knows that most of the world will never truly understand him.
I saw her weariness, her frustration from dealing with a system that thrives on red tape, and her fear for Derrick's future.
But most of all, I saw a mother. I saw love in action as she tenderly re-directed her son, shared delight as she watched him jump into the pool, and an abiding joy that sprang from just being Derrick's mom.