Though we’ve come a long way, we still live in a society that tells us — subtly and not-so subtly — that blue is for boys and pink is for girls.
But hopefully, we’re inching towards a brave new world where girls are allowed to play with miniature trucks to their heart’s content, while boys will be left to organize their pretty ribbon collections in peace.
That’s why this true story is particularly moving. As a little boy excitedly shopped at Target for the Barbie of his choosing, his mother Maya Alderman received “The Look” from another shopper.
She shared her open letter to the mother who gave her “The Look” on The Mighty.
Read the touching letter below:
To the Mother in Target shopping with her two sons,
You don’t know me, and I don’t know you. Because you don’t know me, you don’t know about the daily war I wage with my anxiety and that being an anxious person makes me overly aware of my surroundings, usually to a fault. So when I walked past you with my son–who on that morning chose a fuchsia rose headband to wear with his Batman flip flops–as he pulled me towards the Barbie section, I saw you. I saw the look.
Going places with my son can be difficult for me. I panic when I think of the stares and the thoughts people are thinking about him. He, thankfully, does not notice or care. On this particular outing, we were going to buy him a new Barbie with the money he’d saved. Oh, if you could’ve seen the happiness on his face when we arrived at the all pink-purple-and-glitter aisle filled to the brim with beautiful dolls. Pure. Innocent. Joy.
But we passed you with your husband and sons in the aisle filled with trucks and action figures, so you did not get to see that joy. You probably didn’t notice me catch my breath as we approached your family in that aisle, wondering what my reaction would be should you or one of your sons point and laugh. But I noticed you. I saw you.
You looked down at my boy with his pretty headband and beaming blue eyes, and then you looked up at me. Our eyes met, and you smiled. You smiled. And then you looked back at your boys who were staring at my son, and you smiled at them. And so they went back to picking out Hot Wheels, and we went on to find the perfect ballerina Barbie doll.