It didn't take long, really. The little jerk who thought he was so clever has been ID'd.
An acquaintance who actually witnessed the event, but didn't know what was said (she was one row over, and couldn't hear anything.) called me not long after we got home. She said the look on my face was "terrifying". Looking back from this perspective several hours later, I believe that might be one of the greater understatements I have heard recently. I probably scared the kid, and his mom, out of a years growth.
The acquaintance knows his name, what elementary school he attends, even what church his family goes to. She was aghast at the exchange, and offered to procure an apology for Twinkle.
On the way home from The Big W-M, Twinks and I had a long conversation. We talked about why someone would ever say something like that, and Twinkle wanted to know why his mom didn't march him back around and make him apologize. (pointing out correctly that she would never have been allowed to get away with something like that...) She worried that other people might look at her and feel the same way. That they would never know that she isn't always in the chair, they would never know the truth about her. She didn't want to be pitied. She just wants to be...
And then an amazing thing happened. Right then and there, Twinkle gave this kid absolution; in her sweet little voice she told me that she felt sorry for him. "Because, I'm just a kid in a wheelchair... but people like him are the ones that are really disabled. "
By the time we pulled into our own driveway, Twinkle was over it. She had been upset, to be sure, but as far as she was concerned, it was done - over - finished. She was at peace.
So, I turned down the chance at the information, and the apology. Why? Because I knew the apology would be meaningless to the kid, and his parents. They would be doing it for all the wrong reasons. They won't ever understand; they have never lived on our side of Normal, and if they are lucky, they won't ever have to. Finally, because I can't dwell on people who are like that; if I do, I let the toxicity of their attitude poison my soul. And that would mean that I'm not being the best mother, and/or the best role model that I can be, that I should be for this incredible child.
So, it really is done, it really is over, it really is finished.
Twinkle was right. She's not really the disabled one. She's just a kid in a wheelchair.