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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Kind people

There are so many kind, caring people out there. Sometimes, when it gets tough with Janey, I forget that. I think about the few people who make mean comments or give nasty looks, but there are so many more people that are nicer than they have to be.

This thought was prompted by my trip to the post office with Janey this afternoon. I should have gone while she was in summer school, but I didn't make it. So I took her after school, and she was not happy. She was tired, hot, just not in a post office mood, I guess. I tried bribing her with donuts if she could be good. And she tried. She really tried. She kept saying to herself "If you are good, you can have a donut!" but then crying hysterically. And as I tried to hurriedly get my posting done, she suddenly hugged the teenager behind us in line, a violent, tight hug, while she cried her eyes out. I quickly tried to get her away, but the girl said "It's fine! It's okay! She is so sweet! How old is she?" I said almost 8, and as she looked a little surprised, I said "She is autistic" The girl said "Oh! Just like my nephew!" and kept holding onto Janey, despite Janey's increasingly tight hugging and loud crying. I tried to comfort Janey, reminding her about the donut, and the clerk said "Oh, she's doing the best she can! She's tired! It's hard for all of us to be good!" and then he pulled out a wedding picture to show me his niece, who was the flower girl and also autistic. Those two fine people, so different in age and appearance and background, both made me feel so hopeful about the human race. As I left, I heard the clerk telling the teenager what a fine person she was, how nice she had been. My eyes were filled with tears.

I have to remember people like that when things get hard. People, I truly believe, are mostly good. They want to be kind, they want to do the right thing. Not everyone, but a good deal of people. And I am very grateful that is the case.


Bumblebee said...

I randomly found your blog a few weeks ago and immediately felt a connection...I have a 12 year old severely autistic daughter, and your adventures with Janey as you describe them in your blog remind me SOOOO much of my experiences with my daughter when she was Janey's age.

My "kindness from a stranger" moment occurred several years ago...I had taken my child to the thrift store to purchase some needed clothes, and of course, the outing turned into an on-the-floor-scream-at-the-top-of-your-lungs-head-banging meltdown. I thought about dropping everything and leaving the store, but I really needed those I managed to get my still screaming/thrashing child to the check-out counter to pay for my purchase. While there, two women in line loudly commented on my "bad" parenting and "retard-of-a-child." To my shock, a grandfatherly gentleman behind them came to my defense and boldly told them, "Shut up. This mom is exceptional. You have no idea how difficult it is to parent an autistic child, and you are making her job more difficult by your crude, hurtful comments." He then offered to help me out to my car with my bags. He waited while I buckled my child into the car seat, then he told me that he and his wife had done special needs foster care for decades and knew how challenging parenting could be. He told me never, ever, let people like that get me down or stop me from taking my child out into the community. He told me that my child was so incredibly lucky to be loved by such a wonderful mom. After he left I got in my car and cried for 15 minutes. I so needed to hear that day that I was a good mom.

You are a good mom too. Some days are hard, but know that it won't always be so. Autistic kids grow an mature too. Right now you are experiencing the extended version of the "terrible twos" (which for autistics seem to last until age 8-10.) One day you will wake up and realize that meltdowns are less intense or not as frequent, and that life doesn't seem to be so intense all the hang in there mom, you are doing a good job!

Suzanne said...

Thanks so much for your very kind and encouraging words! I was in tears reading your story. It truly is people like that man that keep me going. There are so many good people like him, and it's so easy to forget that when confronted by women like those who said those ignorant and cruel things.

You are the second person with a pre-teen autistic daughter who has said the 8-10 range is when things get easier! I think I am starting to see the very edges of the easier time, with some more interest in toilet training and a least a slight feeling during meltdowns that they will probably not last all day.

I am so glad you are reading the blog! I hope you will share any ideas you have with me when you have a chance!