I wrote about this on my facebook page the other day, but I thought I’d write out the whole story.
Things have been, eh, busy for us lately. Friday I spent the entire morning working on Abby’s medical crap so she could start school on Monday. I went back and forth to the school, to her doctor’s, the pharmacy, etc. The Special Ed office in Rhode Island has yet to send Abby’s records (good thing I brought a copy of her IEP), and so all of the medical releases and the medical plan I had done there had to be redone here. That included getting her new prescriptions for her breathing meds because I couldn’t just send an inhaler, it has to actually be in the box with her name and prescription information on it.
Abby goes everywhere with me. It wreaks HAVOC on my body. She’s between being able to ride in a cart in stores that have them and being able to walk on her own without running away at every turn. Almost everywhere we go, I end up carrying her a lot of the time. We’re trying to encourage her to walk more, but her body tires out pretty quickly into it, too. So after just a couple of hours running errands, I really start to feel it in my back and hips. By the time we’d gotten to Target on Friday, I was in quite a bit of pain. I forced Abby into the cart as she screamed in protest. I was tired and on the verge of tears. As I worked through the isles, I picked up a large container of cheese balls, which are Peyton’s absolute favorite treat. I never get them as I really really like not having a house covered in orange fingerprints. But Peyton has been super good in spite of getting any attention for the last month, so I figured I’d surprise him with it. As soon as the can of orange death went into the cart, Abby FREAKED out. She turned her body as far as she could go and grabbed the container. She tried everything she could to get into it, eventually straight up gnawing at the corner of it. The yelling persisted. Fully beaten down, I opened the container and shoved a handful into her tiny hands, and then threw the container back into the cart. Abby quickly started turning orange, and then figured that she could reach back into the cart, untwist the cap, and grab herself more. I didn’t stop her. I just wanted to get out of there and this was keeping her in the cart and calm.
In my fatigue, I almost willed someone to say something to me. I was so far at the end of the rope, that I knew I’d freak the hell out the minute someone said something like, “Well, I’d never feed that kind of poison to my child!” I waited and worried as I worked to finish off my list. It didn’t happen. In fact, people were SO awesome about it. One employee came by and smiled and played with Abby and said, “You do what you gotta.” when they saw the open container of unpaid for cheese balls. Two women smiled as they walked by, the younger said, “She’s too cute, I couldn’t say ‘no’ to her either!” Another lady asked me how old she was and said, “I just love that age…except at the store…the cheese balls are a good idea.” When we got through the checkout, the lid to the cheese balls came off as the lady went to scan them. A bunch of cheese balls flew out. I apologized as I tried to clean up the mess and wrestle with Abby at the same time. The checkout lady helped me, all the while telling me how she understood the need to just get through the store, and that she was happy to help.
The tears that I had held back in my exhaustion earlier came as I trudged out of the store. This time though they came because people were nice. People didn’t judge me. They weren’t condescending. They were kind. They didn’t have to go too far out of their way, all they had to do was smile and nod. A quick sentence of understanding. They had no idea how tired I was, or how hard these last couple of months have been. They didn’t know how much I needed their kindness, or how their simple actions would leave me crying in the parking lot, filled with gratitude for the goodness of people.