Especially those places where other children might try to engage with her, to no avail.
As parents, we so wish for our children to have playmates but when your child is not easy to play with, it's no wonder that most kids give up and move on. And we often hear terrible stories about special needs children being left out or teased or even bullied so it's a constant source of worry - the desire for friendship, which can be risky, versus the desire to just isolate and protect because its easier.
But every now and then, when you least expect it, people can surprise you. And restore your belief in the goodness of society.
When we were in Aspen, Lily's two favorite places to hang out were the porch off our condo and the Aspen Recreation Center.
The ARC is just a short walk from the condo so our morning routine consisted of a leisurely breakfast, followed by a brisk walk along Government Trail for Ryan and I with Bird in the BOB jog stroller, and ending up at the ARC for a swim.
The Rec Center has a huge indoor kid water entertainment area with sprayers, slides, drenchers, and a lazy river and no part of it was too deep for Bird. I think she did that little blue slide 500 times by the end of our two week stay.
The lighting inside the ARC is terrible for pictures but I think you can see that Lily Bird enjoyed herself.
Because we usually arrived fairly early, it was never crowded. In fact, a couple of times, we pretty much had the whole pool to ourselves.
One day, a group of probably 10 year old girls were hanging out in the pool. I was sitting on the deck and Ryan was in the pool. Bird was making her usual verbalizations and they were kind of echoey and loud. I saw the girls look over at her a few times but they more or less ignored her, which was fine with me. I just didn't want them whispering and pointing.
So imagine my surprise when a girl swam right up to Ryan and Lily and said, "What's her name?"
Ryan said, "This is Lily. She doesn't talk, though".
And this precious girl then said, "Oh. That's ok! There's a boy in my class who doesn't talk either but he's very nice."
Ryan conversed with Kayla just a minute more, then we got ready to leave the pool and she swam off to join her friends, having thoroughly stolen our hearts.
I so wished I could've met her mom to tell her how proud she should be of her sweet daughter.
Lest you think all the nice people are in Aspen, let me tell you another quick story.
Just the other day, Ryan and I took Lily shoe shopping. After purchasing some brand new kicks for Bird, we headed next door to Elevation Burger for some lunch.
The three of us are standing in line at the counter, with Ryan and I are intently studying the menu, waiting on our turn to order. Unbeknownst to us, Bird turns around to the table behind us and helps herself to a cup of ice water.
Which would have been perfectly fine had it not belonged to another customer who was already eating lunch.
As Lily turns back around, drinking the water, Ryan and I both look down, see the cup, and start trying to figure out where on earth she got it. We both turn around and see the table sitting right there behind us, like a Birdie Buffet. And we also see the couple sitting there, staring at us and our kid who just swiped a free drink off their table.
I immediately begin apologizing profusely, worrying about how these people are going to respond.
I have my hand on this woman's shoulder. Ryan is offering to buy another drink. Lily is digging for ice in the "stolen" cup. We are all up in their personal space.
And this sweet woman grabs my hand and says, "It's fine. Just fine. It was just water. I hadn't even drunk any of it yet."
I'm still apologizing.
She's still just calmly reassuring me it's not a big deal and to quit worrying about it.
And you know what? She really means it.
We have a good laugh with this sweet couple, then we move on to get our own lunch, keeping a closer eye on the Bird.
With a much greater appreciation for the patience and understanding of total strangers.
Sometimes, in the midst of the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it can be hard to remember that most folks really are just nice people.
Here's hoping we all take a few minutes to notice it this weekend.
And maybe even get a chance to put a little kindness into action ourselves.