Travels With Joshua

Drawing a larger, more luminous map of the world

When people saw this wildly gesturing young man being pursued by a woman in a drenched rain jacket and clutching a wet McDonald's bag, they walked wide loops around us.

"Wait," I wanted to say. "This is a J. Crew jacket, and my outfit was not bought at a Junior League Thrift Shop. I go to the dentist twice a year and the beauty shop and massage therapist twice a month. One of my daughters went to Harvard and the other works at Saks. And this boy you look at as if he were a freak is a hell of a miracle kid."

I say nothing. We are two people on a quest to see the world, and we cannot be concerned with what others cannot see.

Vicki Pieser lives in New Ulm, Minnesota. She first wrote about her experiences mothering Joshua for Minnesota Parent several years ago. She hopes her essays will encourage parents to see their encounters with people with disabilites as opportunities to teach children empathy and appreciation for diversity.

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