Monday, June 29, 2009

Goodness Gracious

I am sure I am about to encounter a MEAN person. Someone is going to spit on me or knock me in to traffic or something. It's not only statistically probable, but I am about to jinx myself horribly.

Because I am about to tell you that we've been on a journey to the East Coast, and every step we've travelled we've encountered friendship, kindness and NICE people.

J and Rooster sat in a row of three, and Peaches and I sat in another row of three. Halfway into the flight, when J wrestled the boy to the restroom, I leaned over to the woman in the third seat of their room. "I just want to say how much I appreciate your tolerance," I told her. "I never know in a situation like this if I should start out by explaining that my son has special needs, or just let things unfold... but clearly you have seen that he has special needs, and I want to thank you for how nice you've been about his behavior. This flight is hard for him." She not only asked me all about autism, but she works in health insurance in Alaska and had many questions about ABA. When I told her that it has been a lifesaver for us, she wondered how they could recruit more ABA providers to Alaska.

When we got to our rental house, it was late, and dark, and the lock box would not open. The cab driver helped us for many minutes, and helped me keep my wound up kids from running into the street.

We are here so I can attend a conference in Washington, D.C., and getting this far provided us more than enough challenge. So my mother and step dad came to meet us, getting up before four a.m. and riding five hours on the train so we didn't have to go to them. They have put up with much inconvenience and little by way of adult entertainment. On top of that, my college roommate and dear friend who lives in Maryland agreed not only to drive the hour to visit us with her husband and two kids, but they brought with them a cooler full of lunch foods (ceviche too! yummm) and beer, and loads of toys to share and occupy the kids. We hung out for several hours, and while my kids occasionally threw tantrums and needed time outs and hit, her kids regularly forgave and shared and engaged. And, the niceness continues...

Like, right now, a childhood friend I found through Facebook is driving three hours to come catch up tonight after 20 years! A dear college friend who lives in town works for a museum, and just wrote to offer to comp us tickets. My colleague from work arrived to attend this conference too, and, having lived here previously, she has navigated us, escorted us, shared Metro passes, and voluntarily took the basement bedroom at our shared house. Even more, she has tolerated my endless worries about my kids. This trip? It stirs up alllllll the reasons to worry. Yeah, I know, we're taxing my son beyond reason, that we're pushing all his buttons, but later I will have to post the photo of him throwing his body in anguish on to the concrete steps of the entrance to the Smithsonian because I wouldn't buy him a $100 space suit. I wish I had captured on video my husband's reaction when the guard came out of the museum to tell him, VERY politely, that he was sorry but he couldn't let the boy lay on the steps. J said, "Great. Tell him that."

Honestly, though, J has been the nicest person of all on this journey. He has the kids all day while I'm at an amazing conference, stretching my brain, meeting interesting people, having fun. He has them in a kind of funky house in a kind of remote neighborhood of a hot and sometimes rainy city full of mosquitoes. He has been up at night with the boy's mixed up body clock on alarm mode. He has been living with his inlaws, who are wonderful, but who snore just a bit...

I fervently hope I don't push J past his limits, that he isn't the one who spits on me or pushes me into traffic!


pixiemama said...

i'm glad it's going mostly well.
J is wonderful - i have seen this with my very own eyes.
i ((((((heart)))))) you.

Anonymous said...

sounds like an amazingly positive experience in all ways, despite the streeeeetching that is clearly going on! sending my best from up here on the same east coast!