I saw this picture today from the Autism Spectrum Disorder Facebook page, and thought of how very well it described my morning yesterday with Aaron.
Oh my goodness, Aaron was standing out all over the place as we went to meet his day group…..and some of it was kind of my fault, too. Here’s how it went:
Aaron and I pulled in to Quik Trip yesterday morning. We saw what we thought was the familiar van that the staff often drives, but as I pulled near I saw that the driver was unfamiliar. Thinking that this was a new staff member that I had not met yet, I asked Aaron what her name was. Aaron said he didn’t know, which is not at all unusual. I’m surprised when he knows anyone’s name because names are usually unimportant to Aaron. We pulled up beside the van and Aaron rolled down his window. He leaned out toward this woman who was looking at her phone, and so she looked up and saw us with the rolled down window………and Aaron’s door opening at my urging.
She lowered her passenger window and Aaron loudly said, “My Mom wants to know what your name is!” He was getting out of our van, juggling his two bottles of water, and was getting ready to put his water inside her open window and open her van door. She looked alarmed and said, “No!” And as she started pulling away, I saw the baby in the back seat and suddenly put two and two together. This was just a random mom who had stopped to do something on her phone…….and unfortunately for her, she had stopped near where we link up with Aaron’s ride every weekday morning. Aaron looked confused as he got back in our van. I was horribly embarrassed, and this mother was no doubt scared to death.
I drove around to try to meet up with her again and explain, but I guess she saw me coming and so she pulled out of the parking lot. I just can’t describe how badly I felt about this………….how badly I still feel about this! Then to top it off, Aaron jumped out of our van and headed for the store, saying that he wanted a sausage biscuit. He was well on his way and it was useless to call him back, so I parked and went inside.
There I found Aaron with two biscuits on the counter, holding three dollars in the air, and asking, “What about three?” He then turned and grabbed another biscuit from the warmer, oblivious to the frustrated shopper behind him……..and the puzzled cashier……..and his very already frustrated and embarrassed mother. I somehow managed to get him to take the two biscuits, and to pay the cashier who had the change ready and waiting, and take the free sandwich sample that was being handed out behind us, and to say “I’m sorry” to the cashier, and to repeat “I’m sorry” to the frowning customer behind us, and to get out the door and to our van, and link up with our for-real driver who was also having a bad day.
I’m still thinking about that poor terrified mother. I wonder what she has told her husband and family and friends about her scary encounter? I’m still thinking about the irritated customer that was behind Aaron……….understanding her, and yet wondering if she had any compassion for unusual Aaron………..or his harried mother? I’m still thinking about the puzzled cashier, wondering if he has seen Aaron there before and if the look on his face was just that of a man who has seen it all in Quik Trip. I’m still thinking of the wide-eyed girls who were handing out the free sandwich samples as they observed this scene, unsmiling and confused.
Usually I handle these situations with humor and much more ease than I possessed on this day. The situation with the young mother really unnerved me. My stomach was in knots for a long time, as if I had experienced something very disturbing. And I guess in a way it was just that……..unnerving for me and for her.
But not for Aaron, of course. He immediately went about his normal day, wanting sausage biscuits and then talking non-stop until his ride came. But he became angry when I was telling Tim, the driver, about it……….and I realized that I was making Aaron feel like it was his fault, and that I was talking about him. Those are two things that he does NOT like………so I had another situation to make right before I drove away.
I tried to regroup all day…….to not take it all too seriously. I know of many moms who have these same sorts of days, whether with special needs or not. We moms goof up, get embarrassed, become frustrated – but we just keep going, don’t we? We can’t quit our job or change positions…………we’re mothers for good…..and bad.
In all these times, there are lessons to learn and mistakes that we hope not to repeat. I’m thankful that God is right there with His love that gives me comfort and His listening ear that hears my words……even the ones I don’t speak but that are in my heart. And God’s patience is the best example ever for me! I needed an extra dose of His patience yesterday morning. I imagine that God needs extra patience with me, too, on most days. God is the kind of Father to me that shows me what kind of mother to be to Aaron.
Especially on those days when Aaron REALLY stands out!