The Importance of Literacy

Yesterday my husband took our daughter shopping with him. They went to buy tomato and cucumber plants at this big K-Mart-sized store. Lilia loves that place because they have pets. She loves to look at the dogs and dream about owning one.

While my husband was in line at the register, Lilia rolled off.  I’ve had countless chats with her about sticking close to me in public places, but she doesn’t seem to get it. Maybe it’s because for the first few years of her life, someone was always pushing her, or near enough to catch her when she fell. Now she’s reveling in the independence that the wheelchair gives her and, quite frankly, my husband isn’t as vigilant as I am. (Perhaps I am overprotective…) Anyway, he lost her. Lilia became a maigo!

He went looking for her in the pet department – no Lilia. Then he went looking for her in the books department. She wasn’t there either. Finally, he heard his first name being called out on the PA system.

Although she cannot speak and mainly uses sign language, she managed to communicate with a store clerk. She wrote down her father’s name and the clerk paged him. I wasn’t happy that she had been separated from her father, but I was  relieved and proud that she found her way back to him.


6 thoughts on “The Importance of Literacy

  1. That is really great, and the store personnel may have had to reassess some of their assumptions about disabled people when Lilia communicated with them in that way.

    Also, I wouldn’t be happy if my husband “lost” my kids either, but I do notice the kids have different experiences with him than they do with me, and it’s probably good for them, especially if, as with Lilia’s adventure, they are forced to take care of themselves and manage an unfamiliar situation (just as long as it’s not too upsetting or traumatic for them). I bet she was proud of herself.

  2. I am curious as to how he handled it after he “found” her. Did he do it with compassion or was he annoyed?

  3. I wasn’t there, but he seemed amazed and proud when he told me about it. I’m sure he wasn’t annoyed.

  4. Really great. It’s wonderful to hear about how clear-headed your daughter is.

    I lost my son once in the Museum of Natural History in NYC. He was four, and knew almost no English. I searched frantically for him, knowing the dangers of the city and worrying that he’d be terrified (and that my wife would kill me).

    He was at the security desk. After he’d realized we’d been separated, he went there and was chattering away cheerfully at the security guards (who didn’t understand him at all, but were completely charmed).

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