Audric finished his dentist appointment. He was hungry. I take advantange when he’s hungry to try something different, whether it’s the food or restaurant. We seem to practice going out a lot. But since we had just left the dentist’s office, I didn’t have much energy to devote to practicing going out to do something new and different. We went to a familiar place, Chipotle.
I saw the line, but there was no turning back. I’ve done it before, and it’s hit or miss. Sometimes Audric’s okay, but this time, I knew he wouldn’t be. So I took a deep breath and we went inside. We walked by people sitting at tables and got in line. Any line is potentially a long line. Not to mention, the hungrier we are, the less patient we tend to be.
Audric likes when I repeat a phrase or word. It’s one of his many behaviors that sets him apart from everyone else. This time he wanted me to sing a phrase from a Kidz Bop song. At home, I’ll spice it up with some dance moves. In public, he has to be standing close if he wants me to sing. No dance moves either. If I say no, we’d be in the midst of a level 7 tantrum. There were still ten people in front of us. So I start singing:
“I don’t wanna know, know, know;
I don’t wanna know, know, know;
Loving you so, so, so”
Between carrying him on my back, redirecting him to stand closer to me, and singing this song, I was doing my best to “control” him so others felt I was being courteous and respectful. Previous experience, which is another post on a later date, seared by people who will not get it. These people don’t care. I don’t know who or when I’ll encounter them, so I’m cautious almost to a point of paranoia. I take another deep breath to calm down. This level of stress is unnecessary and it’s not healthy. The fact is, mean people exist and there’s nothing we can do about them.
There was a woman in front of us. She was alone. Most people look at their phone. She stood there, sideways, taking the moment in. Audric walk in front of her a few times. He claps, so she was in ear shot of that. Then he was requesting me to sing. Since he’s non-verbal, he vocalizes and it sounds like, “Hey! Hey!” He hops in excitement. Sometimes he yells out a laughter. It’s hard to tell at first glance if he’s crying or laughing. At one point, the woman and I made eye contact. We smiled.
It’s finally our turn. We placed our order. We’re waiting to checkout when the woman in front of us told the cashier she was paying for our order too. Oh my goodness! The whole time I was so very stressed thinking that we were annoying her. Maybe we were in the beginning. Maybe while we waited together, she witnessed special needs up close and personal, and had a change of heart. Who knows? And here I almost missed out on a person’s kindness and generosity because I thought the line was too long.
In the end, we did practice going out. We practiced waiting. We practiced patience. I practiced taking deep breaths. Audric did a good job. He wants to do fun and practical things like everyone else. And I reminded myself, we are important members of the community. We need to be seen and heard.