It may have looked like a Captain D’s to you, but what did it look like to Charley?
I never saw this coming…
We, Charley and me, had Mom and Charley date night. That means Brad was busy, so Charley and I were on our own. We bantered about where to eat and settled on fish. Ten minutes later we found ourselves in Captain D’s.
“Hello, purty,” he said to the girl behind the counter.
She was nice to him, but didn’t encourage the attention. Said she’d bring our food to the table, so we made our way to the dining area and got our drinks, sauces, lemon, flatware. The essentials.
I don’t know about your Captain D’s, but the one here in Knoxville down the street from us plays great radio. Always something to bebop to.
So we sat there and waited. And bebopped. And waited. And there she came, carrying our meals.
We ate a bit, and bebopped. Yes, while eating.
The next thing I know is, I was squirting lemon on my broccoli when Charley looks up and says, “Watch my food, Mom.”
I glanced up. “Where are you going?” I’m thinking the restroom. That’s what I get for thinking.
He checked with me one last time. “Watch my food. Ok?”
Up he stood, and headed over to “Purty” girl. “Dance with me?” he asked.
“I’m not a good dancer,” she said.
He held his hand out. “Come on, Purty.”
She shook her head. “Nope. Sorry.”
He turned to another worker. “You dance with me?”
“I can’t,” she said. “I’m working.”
He slapped his hands to the sides of his legs and let out a big sigh, like, what does a guy have to do to get a dance around here?
Believe me, as his Mom, I wanted to intervene. I have a tendency to want to squash that spontaneous part of him that might be considered inappropriate. Instead, I allowed him to be himself.
The worker looked at me. “It may look like a Captain D’s to you, but it looks like a dance floor to him,” I said.
About that time the manager came out from behind the counter.
“I have this dance?” he said.
I was just sure she was going to embarrass him. Instead, she said, with no hesitation, “Sure!”
And with that, they twirled around the restaurant.
Like I said, it may look like a Captain D’s to you, but what I saw was Captain DS. That stands for Captain Down Syndrome.
Now before you think I’m making fun of him, or being flippant about his Down syndrome. I assure you, it’s quite the contrary.
Thanks to the manager, I had the privilege of seeing a young man who looked a little taller on his way out of the restaurant than when he entered. A man who quick-stepped his way to the car. A young man who slid into the car seat, turned to me, and said, “See?” Like, see Mom? If you just believe in yourself, if you just hang in there, good things can and do happen.
He’s right. If you know anything about people with Down syndrome, then you know they don’t give up. They find a way. They live with a zest like every floor is a dance floor. And as far as I’m concerned, it’s a great example for all of us.
What a fantastic reminder of the wonder of that extra chromosome, to witness a dance in Captain D’s during Down syndrome Awareness Month.
When I think of the things I’ve learned from this supposedly challenged son of mine, I’m humbled.
Dance then, you who are glued to your seats. You who are locked away in the confines of your busy-ness. When you least expect it, someone, somewhere, might ask you to dance. My hope for you is that you take the hand of the one reaching out, and that you will hear the music. With your whole heart.
And, yes, with your feet.