We had prepared him for this day. Told him what exactly to expect. He knew just the number of pricks he was getting, and the shots he needed to get back into school for his 7th grade year. He knew just the time he needed to get up, and what they would require of him once he got there. He knew they MAY have an extra dose of vaccine, and he could get one prick extra. We had prepared him for every possible thing that could be expected.
“We have an extra dose of the vaccine, and he is scheduled for a weight and height check, too.”
Then it happened. Uh-oh.
“You did not tell me about height and weight! Two shots! I am only getting two shots! Because that is what you said!” Kicking. Yelling. Arms flailing. Looking more like a toddler, and less like a 12 year old (well, even more less like one, hence the height and weight check).
The meltdown he had certainly didn’t match the weight he wasn’t gaining. The meltdown he had was simply because Mommy forgot about that height and weight check. It was not on his “schedule.” Not what he was expecting. This is the norm when dealing with autism. Clearly I should know better.
“This is embarrassing. People are looking at us. I’m going to the Jeep.”
I get it. She, his older sister, had endured this just as long as we had. But she was 14. I am 43. My skin is tougher than hers. I had learned that no one was throwing you a bone, and they were going to stare, and he was still going to scream.
“Hun, I got a shot blocker. It makes it hurt less.”
There was my bone. Sweet Jesus. Where did this angel dressed as a nurse come from? And could there please be more like her?
As we climbed back in our vehicle, my daughter spoke again about her embarrassment, and I proceeded to tell her this, about the girl she described as making faces and laughing:
“No one knows our situation. No one knows what he goes through. Or who he is. And after today they won’t see us again. They may even go home and be horrible to their parents. Or mean to their siblings. Or be big bullies in their neighborhoods or schools. I don’t care if they stare. What I care about is that you two know NOT to do that. You get and give shot blockers”
So. Which one are you? Because I know in the many years we have endured our son’s tantrums we have had some hand us a bone, and some just hand us stares. And I know many don’t know what to do, but a question asking us how to help is enough to make us feel less out of control, less incompetent, less wanting to melt into a puddle (or hide in cars).
On the way home, because I had bribed the kid with Starbucks just to get that weight and height checked without another meltdown (look, I gotta do what I gotta do), I heard from the backseat, “You want to try some?” At first I thought the sky could be falling. Was she being kind to her embarrassing, younger brother?
As I questioned her character, because this is what “good” parents do when their kids are nice, this is what she told me: “Mom, he didn’t get his cake pop. I’m sharing some of my banana bread.”
She had handed him a bone.
Could you hand someone a dose of compassion instead of stares, snickers, and judgment that do nothing but add to the scorn they already feel? What bone could you hand out today to a person, a mom, or a desperate child in need? Do you have a shot blocker, a piece of banana bread, or a yummy cup of coffee to ease the burden for someone? It will not only make them feel a lot better, it’s guaranteed to lift you up too.
The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed. Proverbs 11:25, NLT