Sunday, July 11, 2010

The "A" Word

A couple of days ago, we made a family trek to Kalispell, Montana, about 15 minutes south for some redneck know, Marshalls, T J Maxx and Ross, and of course to one of the huge book stores for Addie. She is reading these books in a series about different types of fairies, and she is reading them whenever she has any down time, and sometimes one per day!! I love it!!!

While in the bookstore, Garrett made a huge stinky in his diaper. Funny thing is that he ALWAYS does that in bookstores. Must relax him or excite him. The jury is out on that one. Grouchy had walked to Target for some groceries, and the kiddos wanted to come with me to the book store. We found the next SEVEN books Addie needed and headed to the checkout line. There were two customers ahead of us, and while waiting, Garrett was enjoying opening and closing the hinged door of a small, glass-front Coca-Cola cooler with 20 oz bottles of product. After he opened and closed it in a very focused and loud way about ten times, the man ahead of us said,"Buddy, you're letting all the cold air out." I think he was making it known he thought it wasn't a good idea, but I just let it go and asked Garrett to close it more softly. I knew that if something like that didn't hold his attention, there was no way on earth he would not wonder off, and we would not be able to complete the transaction and buy Addie's books. So it was our turn next, and as I got our my debit card and filled out a discount card application, the cashier, a lady in her 50s, said,"Hey little guy, can you please quit doing that (opening and closing the cooler door)?" I felt my testicles jump out of my purse, scurry up my arm and land on my shoulder, and I said, without even thinking,"That's my son. His name is Garrett, and he is autistic. He can either keep opening and closing the cooler, and I can purchase the books for my daughter, OR we can stop him and he will be out the door, walking out into the parking lot so fast that I won't get my books and you won't get your money. Let's finish this, and we will be gone." The cashier, who was already kind and friendly softened a good bit and was very understanding then. Wow, I did it.

Funny thing about this is how my perspective totally shifted. For a couple of years I have been on two different online message boards comprised of parents and grandparents of kids with low muscle tone (hypotonia) and kids with mitochondrial disease. I have read many posts about how it is hard to have kids like Garrett out in public as people don't know how to take the behaviors and tantrums. And a few times I have felt the stares and assumed some negative judgment, but didn't have time to act on it. But that evening, things shifted. I went from worrying what others thought of MY PARENTING and WHY MY KID ACTED LIKE THAT to thinking about Garrett and sending to take up for him. Hey world, give my kid some slack. He can't help it!! He's happy, so let him be!!!

Then the coin flipped tonight. We went to a state park here in Whitefish on the lake. It was a great time with our new friends from the church we attended this morning. The kids swam and played in the rocky sand, we cooked out and laughed and had such a great time. At one point there was a campfire, and a new friend was talking me and said."Does your son have autism?" A few months ago, this might have brought me to tears, but it was actually a relief to hear someone kind enough to talk about it!!! I explained mitochondrial disease and how it manifests in his brain through autistic features and developmental delays. She has two kiddos and was so open and willing to listen and focus on Garrett. He loved her!!

Thought it was interesting how one night I was having to tell someone he is autistic to explain him, but then about 48 hours later, someone picked up on it. It was a good order of events: for me to have to voice it in preparation of being approached with it.....hope that makes some sort of sense!!!

Church was absolutely amazing today, and our time with our new Christian friends was remarkable!!! They all are trying to convince us to stay here instead of moving to Idaho as we have planned. Don't get me wrong, I could live here....we all could. But it's not easy to fly into for a good price, land is expensive, and it's pretty darn cold here all winter. We have been told we are smart to be here for July as it is the"summer month."

Nothing worked out with our house sale yet. We are praying for a smooth transaction to people who will enjoy our place. We have enjoyed so many blessings there!!!!

Addie and Garrett are still thriving here. Addie is just so much more full of energy. It is so encouraging to see!!!! Garrett wow-ed all the ladies at the park this evening. He is such a ham!! Once night this week, a few new girlfriends and I are planning to go back to state park on the lake and tent camp with our kiddos. There have been two black bears there in the camp this week, and one was trapped there last week. So if sometime soon I stop posting..........


1 comment:

  1. GOOD FOR YOU! but where was I when the "A" word was given to your little guy?!!...sorry. I guess I missed that post :( or I dont have a good memory and you mentioned it already to me? sorry again if thats the case...Im getting old so forgive me. In any case. Im glad you found your voice girl!
    If you remember, Jack had many sensory meltdowns starting around age 3. Believe me, Ive left many carts full of groceries. He still gets them but they dont come as often these days. And as for the night terrors, YES Im sure thats what you were seeing. Our oldest had terrible terrors, he wouldnt look at us but screamed, kicked and even one time started to choke me! (he was only 3) So crazy, it would take several minutes before he would snap out of it. You pretty much have to let them go through it because trying to talk to them rarely works. But by age 4, they stopped. Whew, very freaky watching these!

    BIG hugs :)
    Heidi & Jack.