I had the day off yesterday, so I had planned on getting a ton of errands done. One of them was getting low lights done … Lo, Megan & Meagan all know how that horrible experience turned out, but the end of the day I was so mad over color being spilled on my expensive North Face, having chunks of hair missing & that I had hair product sprayed in my eyes/face and the sad thing is that, this is not even the end of the horrible experience but lesson learned. I will not be letting someone tell me “I own the salon, they will take good care of you” let me go anywhere else. There is a reason I don’t let many people touch my hair – this would be why! I didn’t know free low lights were going to end up costing me this much.
You may be wondering what my hair well whats left of it has to do with anything … While I was out running errands yesterday I stopped at the store to pick up groceries for dinner. I didn’t think I was going to meet such amazing person.
Now, if you happen to be “sick” of hearing me talk about autism then you might want to stop reading now. For those of you thinking “why is she saying this” it’s because recently someone who I once called a friend of mine sent me a facebook message asking me if I could stop going on and on about autism, she was getting “kind of sick of reading about it on her facebook timeline”. Sorry, I am not going to stop talking about it, or my son!
I was standing at the checkout, perusing through a magazine while I waited for the man in front of me to be done. I heard the clerk say “you don’t have enough money” & immediately he started to talk very fast & became very upset. I immediately could relate to that frustration & anxiety. It is something that is very similar to Aiden when he gets overwhelmed. Yes, maybe it is because the way he has his hot wheels arranged got moved, something is too loud for him, any kind of change or when our routine is out of our normal daily routine … and the list could continue for forever. It’s just another part of who Aiden is & I wouldn’t change it.
I handed this man $20 and I said “it’s ok, pay for your groceries”. I never have cash in my wallet, but yesterday I did. Immediately his train of thought turned from recalculating why he didn’t have enough to “I can buy my groceries to I can buy my groceries”. “I can get all of my items”. “I will have $9.29 left over.” He thanked me many times and we ended up having an amazing conversation while my groceries were being done. He even noticed that the computer didn’t give me my third bottle of prego spaghetti sauce free like it should have. At the end of day he didn’t know me, I don’t know him … I was just a woman who cared more about someone she didn’t know then anything else. I didn’t care that I was giving someone I didn’t know money I could have used elsewhere. I cared more about him. I can only hope that one day if Aiden needs help, someone he may not know may help him. After I had paid for my groceries he helped me load my groceries into my car & then I walked back into the store to say something to the store about the way this man was treated in the store.
The cashier we had I am already not a fan of I will never forget the time she not only had a major attitude with me, but broke my eggs, my yogurt cups, my sugar, and many other groceries. I get it you are having a bad day but don’t take it out on me or my groceries. So when I saw the look on her face when this man got upset, I think I wasn’t surprised but it instantly made me more mad then I think it would have if someone else had done it. Just because she is so rude all of the time.
My response to the manager of the store yesterday came from two points of view … as a customer & as a mother of a little boy who has autism. At the end of the day, I get that many people don’t know what my life is like, but they also don’t know what every day is like for my little boy.
I can’t say that I would be surprised if a majority of people who could have been standing behind this man probably would have had the same look on their face that the cashier had. A look of “what is wrong with this guy”.. “what is his problem” .. and one person on the next checkout even said “look at this retard”. I had so many emotions boiling up at this point. Anger, at the people judging, laughing & staring at him. Understanding, because I live in a world my everyday world where I need to think outside of the box & to try to think what could help and make the situation easier or better rather then just standing by starring. I know how what may seem like the littlest thing can feel like an enormous thing. I get it, if it’s not a part of your daily life then you won’t know and maybe you won’t know how to handle it or how you will react to it when you do see someone like this man in the grocery store … or my little boy in the middle of target or a restaurant.
I saw this quote the other day “I am a mom with a black belt in autism, I have strengths you can’t imagine”. It’s true, it’s hard some days. It’s hard on both Adam and I, it sometimes effects our marriage, our girls, and most of all Aiden. It’s not easy, but I wouldn’t change anything about my life. There are good days & difficult ones, but through it all Aiden has taught us more in the past 8 months then I would ever have imagined. Everything happens for a reason, there is a plan for everything.
My mom told me about something I said when I was much younger the day we got Aiden’s diagnosis. I had gotten a baby doll for Christmas, and one of her eyes didn’t work. Remember the dolls that closed their eyes when they were flat but open when they were sitting up. Well I called her my special needs baby, and I took her everywhere with me. She came with me to restaurants, to play with my friends, everywhere. If I went somewhere she went with me & I couldn’t have been prouder to take her with me. Even when I had the chance to return that doll for one that worked “normally” I didn’t want to. I wanted her. I loved her. She was my baby doll. Now Aiden is not a baby doll, but I couldn’t be any more proud of him & proud to call him my baby. Words can’t express how proud of him we are.
Do me a favor … please ask questions. I promise you won’t offend me! I would rather have you ask questions then stare in judgement. Aiden knows you are judging him. He may have autism but he is not stupid. He is incredibly smart, much smarter then you may give him credit for. If he is having a meltdown, please don’t stare. He will be ok & I am sure he would prefer not to have a hundred eyeballs staring at him .. I know that I would. Also know that I am not a bad mother, I am not letting him misbehave, but there is a reason why I am trying to soothe him & make it better for him. If your kids have questions please don’t say “shhhh, don’t talk about it”. The only way things are going to change in society is if those who are not dealing with autism on a daily basis ask questions, get informed and know whats going on. Autism is a lot more common then you may think … 1 in 110 children are diagnosed with autism. That is a 600% increase in the last twenty years.