Monday, May 14, 2012

The "Do Not Say" List

People often tell me they are afraid to say anything to people with disabilities or parents with disabled children because they either don't know what to say or are deathly afraid of saying the wrong thing. I always say, it's  pretty hard to go wrong with "Hello."

Yes, certainly I have had strangers say some weird things to us, and I've written about them here many times. (see Strangers tab).

I do have to something to add to to the "DO NOT SAY" list. And just to be clear, this is not limited to conversations with moms of disabled children. It's equally applicable to all women.

If you see a woman struggling with a large wheelchair in the pediatric specialties clinic it is probably wiser NOT to start a conversation with: Is that your granddaughter?

It's just a non starter, conversation wise.

In defense of this otherwise very kind man,(or perhaps in my own defense)  he was younger than me and he WAS there with his grandson.

But still.

Much better to err on the side of the compliment. Asking "is that your daughter" to a grandma will only win you points. However asking "is that your granddaughter" to the mom will get you nowhere fast. You will have played and lost Final Jeopardy.

When I told Steve the story, I noted that pickup lines have really changed over the years.  


  1. Maggie,

    you mom never looses her sense of humor. Great coping skill!

    love your post
    Aunt Dianne

  2. That's a bad thing to say to ANYONE. Ranks right up there with, "when are you due?" to a heavy woman unless you are absolutely sure she is still pregnant.

    I'm an older mom, especially with my youngest. He made my day when he came home and announced, "Cameron's grandmother is the same age as YOU!" I was just so thrilled to hear that!

  3. Good Lord. You should have told the guy that Maggie was YOUR mother.

    And I've told you before that I adore your sense of humor.


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