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Monday, June 18, 2012

Not letting a jerk ruin a great day

I took Janey to the aquarium today. I would never have had the courage to do so without my friend Maryellen. Janey loves her (and so do I!) and with her help, we had a great day. Janey liked the aquarium a lot! I had a feeling if she would like any museum type place, that would be it, as she loves to look at fish, and has been very, very taken with a Teletubbies segment about feeding penguins. But I've guessed wrong many times in the past. Luckily, I was right this time. Janey loved seeing the penguins, and spent a long, long time at several fish tanks. She was good walking to and from the aquarium, and even good waiting an hour for our train at the station. I was on a high---so happy that I was able to do something that "normal" with her and have it go well.

Then the train ride home. Janey was still happy, but starting to cross over into manic a little. It had been a long day. She was repeating things she heard Maryellen and I say. She got caught up in saying "Don't say THAT!" and then laughing in a fake and loud way, over and over. We were working on calming her down, but she wasn't hugely loud, I didn't think. However, a man about 4 rows ahead of us (on a crowded train, which was in no way quiet otherwise), turned around and said "Could you just keep it quiet back there, please?" in an annoyed and superior way. Maryellen immediately said "She is autistic" and I said "We are doing the best we can". The man said no more, but for me, the damage was done. I wanted to cry my eyes out, and alternatively wanted to go scream at the guy, to let him know how his words had pierced me. I know I shouldn't have let it bother me. He was a jerk, he was somehow annoyed by Janey's tone or pitch or who knows what. He had no idea how hard it is for me to get up the gumption to take her out like that, and how easily someone like him can make it a thousand times harder.

Now we are home, and Janey has lost it---she is screaming, hysterical, out of her wits. I am letting her cry a little, as I think she needs it after holding it in all day. She was probably overstimulated, but I have to count the day as a success.

And I am lucky---lucky that I have rarely had someone be that openly nasty. I can't let my own demons keep me from giving Janey experiences like a trip to the city. I don't want to be the center of attention. I don't want to be seen in a negative light. But I'm not Janey, and she had no idea what happened. She hopefully will remember today as it should be remembered---a great day.

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