I was walking between buildings on campus earlier this week and I was delighted to see a young LP woman sitting outside. I wanted to run up to her and meet her, but I didn't. It was perfect- she was sitting by herself, clearly not in a rush or in the middle of a conversation, I could have gone up and introduced myself. But... I didn't know what to say. So, I just walked by and went into my office.
Then, I thought about it some more and tried to figure out what to say, screwed up my courage and went outside again.. but she had gone. I've been looking for her all week, but haven't seen her again. It's a small enough university/campus/town that I'll most likely see her again some day, but it's not a guarantee.
My initial hesitation partly stems from my innate shyness- I don't often approach strangers for anything. However, in this case, I also hesitated because I didn't want to offend her. I mean, I wanted to meet her, I wanted to tell her I thought it was so cool to see her on campus, that my daughter has hypochondroplasia... but what if she thinks, so what? or worse, what if my being excited about seeing her on campus somehow is taken to imply that I think it's extraordinary that she is a college student? I've read several articles that make a huge deal out of someone "overcoming their challenges" and getting a college degree, as if being an educated little person is an amazing feat- I didn't want her to think that was what I was saying. So, I hesitated and I lost the opportunity to meet her, at least for now. I still worry a bit about what I'll say, but I can't just walk by next time.