Get In The Pool
October 1, 2015
To the 28 Year Old Me
October 18, 2015

He Will Be Okay

I began writing this 12 years ago and just finished it to submit to an online site (they passed, sniff) but I thought I would share it here.

He moved quickly around the room – touching all that could be touched. I followed him, trying to head him off before he ran down the hallway. He went to the front desk and knocked all the papers off the table. I firmly helped him to pick them all up again. I could feel the eyes staring at me, judging me for not having better control of my child.

I silently admonished myself. I should have known to not come so early, the waiting was just too much for him. I dug around in my bag – maybe a candy from the dispenser would help alleviate the excruciating wait.  I came up with used tissues and pennies but no quarters. I kept searching my bag for something to distract him and came up with a bouncy ball. I called him over and showed him how to bounce it off the floor onto the wall and catch it. He began to play earnestly, laughing hysterically as it bounced off down the hall.

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A father and mother sat together waiting for their child, they stared at me and my son, I could hear some words “out of control” and “needs a good spanking”. I could feel my face flush red. I wanted to tell them – that he has a disability – that he’s not being bad, he’s just having trouble waiting. Another part of me wanted to punch them and ask if that helped to give them good manners. I did none of it. I sat down and watched him play with the ball and I tried hard not to cry.

The instructor called his group and he went off to play sports with other 5 year olds. I wished over and over that this time he would follow the rules. Praying that he would keep his hands to himself. That this time the instructor wouldn’t need to have a “quiet word” with me at the end to tell me he is not ready to take this kind of class. I closed my eyes and willed him to be okay.

“He’ll be fine”

I opened my eyes and looked beside me. I must have had a confused look on my face.

“He’ll do great. YOU are doing great. You are a great mom. I can see it in all that you do for him.” A petite stranger to my right said. Before I could respond she added “My brother was like that as a kid, it gets better. You will have to do a lot for him but in the end he will be okay”.

We sat and talked and I felt the tension leave my body. I forgot to keep watching the clock and I felt no anxiety about him getting kicked out. Before I knew it the doors opened and all the kids ran out, including my own, beaming with excitement and pride. “I did it!” he exclaimed and I picked him up. I turned to thank the lady but she was gone.

If I could find her I would tell her – yes it took a lot of work but he’s okay and so am I

Tina Szymczak
Tina Szymczak
Tina Szymczak is a 40-something mom and wife with two spirited boys. She has worked in early intervention and as an advocate resource for families with a loved one with a disability. Now she also writes a blog about raising children with complex needs, advocating within the education system, adopting from foster care, trying not to lose your sense of self as you parent, and her struggles with infertility and depression.

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