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To the mom at the park

April 21, 2014

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Today was beautiful and sunny and warm. And so unlike a lot of the days last week. So we all piled in the car and drove to the park to play.  I am 8 and 1/2 months pregnant so chasing my children around the park is out. I sat watching them run around with all the other kids and then I heard the squeal.   When a kid cries at the park, every mother is on high alert finding their own child.  And the relief you feel when its not yours. You don’t have to kiss an ouchy or make sure your kid didn’t just chip a tooth.  Its a good feeling. Not me this time!

I saw you picking him up crying and kicking.  I saw you carry him off while everyone else watched. I saw you try to calm him by talking him through his calming techniques while attempting to insist on a time out when he was too out of control to listen.  He had pushed someone that was messing with the playground toy he was playing with.  The squeal had been from her.  And instead of looking to see if your child was hurt, you looked to see if you child had hurt someone.  Because that’s what you get to do when you go to the playground.

 

And I heard you reasoning, trying to calm, talking it out. Remind of rules and trying to get him to practice his deep breaths. I heard you threaten, plead and attempt to bargain with the meltdown that had taken over your child.  You told him that you couldn’t deal with this today. And I wondered how bad your week had been up to this point.  With the weather fluctuations, the rainy days, the Easter celebrations and breaks from routine. Eventually you gave up on the time out.  You went with the bargain.  You took his hand and with a smile on his face, he led you over to the swing.  We decided to leave about five or ten minutes later.  And I saw you, picking him up off the swing crying and screaming and carrying him to the car.  I saw them all watching you go.

 

We need a secret hand shake, us special needs moms.   One that says, I get it. I feel for you. I’m not watching you with judgement. Because I know what was going through your mind as you carried your screaming boy off to the car.  I just wanted to bring him to the park.  I just wanted to watch him laugh and play.   Its in that tiny moment that your heart breaks and you realize the great divide between you and all the other parents.  When nothing is simple.  Not even a quick trip to the park.

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