what it was

*

“The highest form of human intelligence is to observe yourself without judgement.”

~ Jiddu Krishnamurti

I act like sh*t don’t phase me, inside it drives me crazy, my insecurities could eat me alive.

~ Eminem

~

The girls have just gone to bed. I’ve got twenty more minutes in me if I’m lucky, but I’ve got to tell Luau about the mall.

“She was really having trouble. I mean, it was bad. There was a baby off in the distance somewhere and then another one in the store and she was shouting and hooting and well, she was basically in a complete panic. All I wanted to do was get her out of there, but we needed to pay for the gift for Julie.”

Luau is listening. He knows there’s more. There’s always more.

“She was doing that thing where she yells HUG! HUG! HUG! and actually wants a kiss? Well, ya know, sort of. It’s more of a face smush than a kiss, but you know what I’m talking about, right? Does she do that with you?”

“Sometimes.”

“Anyway, it was just too much. Her entire body was tense and she couldn’t stop yelling. It was like she was being attacked. I felt absolutely horrible for her.

But this was the thing … in that moment — in that God-awful moment, I knew people were staring at us. I knew they were judging us — judging her, judging me … ”

I take a deep breath before finishing the sentence.

“… and I didn’t care.”

I let those words hang in the air for a minute. They’re big.

Luau is quiet.

“And it wasn’t a defiant, stomping my feet and jumping up and down kind of not caring, it was just, an ‘it is what it is’ kind of not caring.”

“I mean, I thought about it. I noticed the older lady whose gaze was fixed right at Brooke, but it just, well … was. And as I was focusing in on trying to help our girl and managing everything around us, I thought, “Yes, people are staring. A nine-year old kid is yelling; why wouldn’t they be curious as to why?” And I knew that some of the people that I thought were judging weren’t. And I knew that if I took the time to look around (which I didn’t) that some of the people whom I would have been convinced were staring at us weren’t.”

“You still with me?” I ask.

Luau smirks. “Uh huh.”

“It was just .. well, it was good, ya know? I mean, the meltdown was awful. Brooke in a panic was awful. But the not caring about the reaction part – that was good.”

“Yes,” he says, “that was really good.”

And because he loves me, he leaves out, “It’s about time.”

15 thoughts on “what it was

  1. I want that! I want the “que sera sera.” Not just with my girl, but in my life. Sometimes I feel it way back in the corner of the room. Watching. Waiting. I try to will it closer, but that only makes it shirk away.

    It must have been a wonderful peace amid the chaos.

  2. While I’m sorry Brooke had that experience, I am so happy for yours. I got to that place a while back, and felt a huge pressure lift from me whenever I attempted to bring Justin places. Now sometimes I actually look around, and more often than not if he’s having a meltdown, it’s sympathy I see reflected in people’s faces, not irritation. A lovely New Year’s gift for you!

  3. Still waiting or that. We went to an indoor play space this week, and we didn’t leave “in time”. I knew when to leave, but we had to pack up, and I had to find B, and in that time it all went to sh*t. K took off, tried to leave, and god-forbid you try to leave one of those places before getting your wristband cut off (which I know is a good thing, but the line to leave was not). The people in front of us took forever getting their shoes, and K was trying to kick the door open, and was yelling and upset. The woman at the desk started yelling at K about how she was acting, and I really just wanted to scream at her to shut up. I mean, clearly, how can even a lay person not see that there is more going on there? Just give me our shoes so we can leave, instead of yelling at my kid! And K took off, and I had to chase her barefoot into the wet parking lot, and we ended up just getting our shoes on our there. And it bothered me. It embarrassed me. It made me feel like a crappy mom.I wish I didn’t care, but I do. I just want people to be understanding. I wish this woman just understood we needed to get out of there, and hurried things along, without me needing to go into a detailed autism explanation, bc we didn’t have time for that. I want strangers not to yell at my kid. K is more physical, I guess, and people notice more. She’ll jump around and hit me and kick and scream and take off…so we always, always get looks. She never asks me for any kind of help, and I can’t do anything to help her, and it sucks big time. And I like to ramble…

    But, yeah, I am not there yet. I still feel crappy when people stare. I even feel crappy when we are around OTHER autism parents,bc sometimes I feel like K is the queen of meltdowns, and they are judging, too (paranoia). I think it will be a long time before I am OK with it…unfortunately.

    • Aw Jen… That all sounds *hard*. Hard on both of you. I haven’t been barefoot in the parking lot, but I’ve had my share of meltdowns over those stupid wristband cut offs (yes, good safety idea, but also hellish just the same).

      I’m with you on not feeling totally at ease, yet. I love that Jess has inspired me to think about this – about getting to que sera sera.

      I think more people understand than we think. And those that don’t understand or empathize… Are they worth an ounce of our extra worry-effort? Probably not. 🙂

  4. They say the end of the Mayan calendar marks the start of a new era… So glad this change is part of your new era! (You really are having some Buddhist-like insights these days…)

    I have decided that our little family is going from the “Surviving” to “Thriving” era. Let it be so. 🙂

  5. I find this place, this peace, is coming with time. Part of the process. I slip backwards and step forward into it. I hope to claim this kind of peace in the coming year(s.)

  6. Kudos to you and Luau. Sounds like you are a loving team. I wish us all this “not-caring-that-people-are-staring-or-judging” attitude in 2013.

    Blessings and Happy New Year!

  7. I’m getting there too…sometimes I think I’m there and then in the heat of the meltdown I realize I’m not. And it depends on the place and the space and my own mood. What I am getting better at is getting over the guilt of feeling bad about the meltdown (the I-never-should-have-tried-this and the what-was-I-thinkings). All a process. All in good time.

  8. Hallelujah! May more people get to this point and may more people without ASD in their lives have their eyes opened. I have to confess that, sometimes, I need my eyes opened to others and their “issues.”

  9. A girlfriend recently said to me, “You have changed. For the better. You are not embarrassed anymore by the way *CJ* is.”
    Her words hit me like a truck but I knew it was the truth. See, I was raised to care about ‘what the neighbors would say’. It has taken me 40 years and the gift of my son to harness my own insecurities.
    In the past, I would cringe and flush with embarrassment; apologize profusely for the way my son would react in social situations. One day, I made the conscious decision to STOP. Stop apologizing, stop cringing, stop saying sorry. I can’t stop the flushed cheeks-that’s genetics baby-but I handle life’s awkward moments with more humour. My son always says,’Mama, did you know if you smile, the world smiles back.’. It is a script that he will repeat thoughout the day. But, it is a powerful message. Don’t ya think?

  10. So happy for you. I hope to one day be there myself. Sometimes it’s just so hard to not care. I’m tired of always feeling like I need to explain, even to family. It’s one thing to say I don’t care (which I do, out loud) and quite another to convince myself that I believe it.
    Happy New Year, my love. Thank you for always being an inspiration, a friend, and a voice when it’s needed the most. Love you so much.

  11. I’m still at the “take a picture, it will last longer” phase. I am getting better though. My son is 14 and doesn’t have too many “dramas” any more. We were in the hospital for 6 months, (a month of that he was in a drug induced sleep) he has Crohn’s and had his colon removed and now has an ileostomy. When he finally woke up, he had to learn how to walk all over again and learn how to eat again. Lots of frustrating therapies and meltdowns at meal time. I learned to ignore the stares of other parents in the hospital (Seattle Children’s Hospital) because Q is quite loud when he wants to be heard. I was so happy that we had a private room the whole time we were there. Q does not make a good room mate =). Anyway, sometimes you just have to laugh (so you don’t cry) and just go on, because in the end, it does get better. Q is home now 2 months and life is getting more manageable. We haven’t gone too many places yet because Q is a little shy about how he looks and doesn’t like people looking at him. He lost 60 lbs. Yes, 60 lbs. He was a big boy. Now he is a “normal” size. We won’t be going back to school this year because of all the healing time yet. Wow, I digress!! Moms and dads, it does get better and if it doesn’t, who cares. People either get over it or they don’t and we love our children so really, who cares!! Thanks for letting me say my peace!!!

  12. I really, really needed to read this today. I’m just getting the concept, and I’m making it my mission for the new year.

    Thank you for always holding the torch, that we might find our way.

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