Tag Archives: mother’s story

The School Bus



“Oh just let that baby take the bus. What is your issue with it?” My aunt’s voice echoes in my head. I had been giving her an update the week before and told her the school district had offered transportation to Ryan as part of the IEP.

What is my issue with it? Is it the stigma of being a special needs kid and going on the “short bus”? Ugh…did I really just call it that? I want to give myself 50 lashes for even thinking this awful thought.  What is wrong with me?  I should be more sensitive to those kind of sayings.  But, it was in my mind before I could stop it.  And if I’m being honest, those busses are very recognizable.  It is one more element I hate about singling him out as special needs.

Aside from my stupid ego, the other, bigger concern, is putting my child’s life in a stranger’s hands. It’s not like bus accidents don’t happen all the time…I’ll go with that…safety.  Yes, that is more the issue than the special needs part of taking the bus.  What a shithead I am…

I don’t think he would have any issue taking the bus. He is actually quite fascinated with them. Every day at preschool he asks to get on the parked buses. The classroom aides think it’s cute; they tell me frequently how much he likes the bus.  Ryan has no concept that he would be perceived as different if he took the short bus. So why am I worried?

When the district offered it, I didn’t say no right away.   But, I have to let them know this week. Maybe just for summer school…I can try it.

Sitting at my desk trying to plan Jenna and Ryan’s  summer I am debating all this–sometimes out loud–weather or not to utilize the school districts offer.  Mainly, it just seems odd, since we don’t need it.  I have fully functioning car and my work is flexible, so getting him there is not an issue.  I never have minded taking my kids to school, in fact, I feel a void in my day if I don’t get to see them off.  I just like knowing they arrived safely.  Okay, maybe it is the safety issue.

I guess I could just have the bus bring him home from summer school… 

Summer school is actually called “ESY” (Extended School year) for special needs children. Many kids need to keep attending school over the summer to help with continuity issues and some to make up academics they struggled with during the year.  The part I don’t like is the ESY only lasts about six weeks and it’s usually at one central school for the whole district—not necessarily the school the child attends; which happens to be the case for us.  So for me it is adding up to one big headache.

First, I have to make his social story.  However, I won’t know have access to his teacher until the first day.  So, technically he will already be there before I make the book.  I will have to take pictures of his new teacher, the school, the class, his speech pathologist and his Occupational therapist.  If I can even see them on the first day.  Then download the pictures, write the story, print it, fold it and begin reading it to him the second he gets home from his first day.  Just that part is overwhelming.  Then there is the element of the coordinating being home for the bus.  Obviously someone has to be there and they give a big window of time it will arrive.

I just can’t decide if it’s worth it, all because he shows interest in the bus.  He likes Thomas too, but would he actually ride on the train? I don’t know.  And I can’t go with him to “try” it.

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Unique Issues

I’ve spent this past week immersed in retail sales. Not for a major store, but running a middle school book fair.  And “running” is a good way of putting it.  I hustled from place to place all week.  All in the name of books.  My weakness.  How could I not “run” the book fair?  Since books have run me for a long time now.  Maybe I’m getting older or just more reflective, because I have chaired this committee in past years, but this year I learned something I hadn’t keyed into before.

Aside from the “unwashed public” of teenagers and a few parents, I spent the majority of the time in the company of other moms chatting and sharing. And I realized something: each of us and our children have some type of special need.  And not ‘special’ in the terms I have grown accustomed to in the “disabled” world.  All of us have difficulties, failures, weaknesses and pain that should be attended to in a unique way.

I have written in past blogs about the words “special needs” and how much I loathe them for the negative connotation it brings out in my mind; well really for the plain fact Ryan has that label. However, I ‘m hoping my experience this week will allow me to stop hating that definition (as much) going forward.  These moms reminded me that we all do whatever it takes for our children and family.  Sacrifices: financial and emotional and all that we do as ‘mom’ to keep our families propelled forward and happy.

I heard stories from the mom who has to worry about her aging mom, or the mom who has to deal with her son’s chronic lung issues (and a cancer survivor herself), or the mom who lost her son, or witnessing the mom of a special needs child. (Who handled her child so differently than me, but that is another topic.) Then I heard about the “typical” kids who too have struggles of their own like Dyslexia, and ADD.  Or even as simple as kids who are poor planners just suffer from plain ol’ forgetfulness.  Every mom I spoke to is juggling and spinning plates, just like me.  We all are fighting different types of battles to get to the same end: making sure everyone has their needs met.

So, I’m starting with me and going to change the perception of what ‘special needs’ really means; I will try to recognize that all of us and our kids have some issue that we need to handle in a distinctive manner.  Then, maybe I could get society to not think of Ryan as singled out with his “special needs” but thinking he has his own “unique issues”; just like everybody else. That way my “special needs” guy isn’t that special after all.  And I like that. A lot.



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The building where ‘church school’ is held is a short distance across a parking lot from the main church.  We walk over as a class. I stay toward the back to make sure the class is all together.  Ryan is holding my hand and grasping Thomas closely in his other.  He is being good so far, but I have trepidation on how he will do inside the church.  He hasn’t spent much time in there as we usually go to the “crying room” during mass.  It’s just easier for us and the fellow parishioners.  I look at him clutching Thomas and silently chastise myself  for letting him have it before class.  But I had to get him here, I argue with my inner behavioralist.   I have to find some stronger reinforcers. It amazes me how much the therapists have invaded the very way I think.  Checking my watch, in hopes it took half the class time to get over here, I am disappointed that it’s only been seven minutes.  Crap. It’s going to be a long night…again.

We arrive at the church and Miss Sally, the head of Religious Education at our church is sitting in her mobility scooter, waiting for us.  She welcomes us with her usual cheer and all the kids are looking at her.  Her scooter is fascinating to all the kids, even Ryan.  She is very conscious of keeping it turned off while speaking to the kids as inevitably some child,most likely mine, will hit the gas and run over who ever is in front of her.  I am not sure why she is in the mobility scooter and don’t have the heart to ask.

“Hello boys and girls! You all ready to learn some interesting things tonight?”  She says in her kid-friendly voice.

There are a few ‘yes’ and ‘no’s’ said softly.  She ignores the ‘no’s’ and starts to explain the rules.  Already Ryan is off touching the stain glass windows.  I walk over to him to start guiding him back to the class.

“We will each get the holy water, do you all know how to do that?” She asks.  Just then Ryan spots the fount and decides he will demonstrate.  Apparently his Thomas train needed the blessing, because it goes in the water.  All the way in.  I think I’m going to swallow my tongue I’m so appalled.  The children see this behind Mrs. Sally’s back and begin to laugh.  I know better than to scream at him and lunge toward him quickly.  I pull out his arm that is now soaked halfway up the sleeve.  Even Mrs. Sally thinks this is slightly funny, but she tries to disguise her smile.

“Thomas all wet.” Ryan says holding up his dripping hand towards me.  His beautiful almond shaped eyes are showing his delight in giving Thomas a bath.

“Yes, he is.” I whisper, wanting to crawl under the nearby table.

“Okay, Ryan, thanks for showing us how! And, to you too, Thomas for being a good assistant.” She laughs. “Mrs. Amy, you want to line them up so they each get a turn.” Mrs. Sally turns and winks at me.  I mouth “sorry” and she waves her hand in dismissal.  She wheels away quickly to the entrance of the sanctuary.  My heart is pounding and I’m beginning to sweat.

“Please God, help me get through this without any other sacrileges.” I say under my breath.  Maybe being in His house will make that prayer more powerful.


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I wake up to the darkness and dress quietly and quickly for my morning run.  I think best when I’m out on the road alone.  There has to be answer.  I know this is what we are supposed to do.  I know I’m supposed to take control again…I just can’t find the place.

I stretch a little on the front step and begin a slow pace, as the rhythmic steps begin, I let the juices take over.  Trying to block out the disappointments of the private schools…but still amazed how all of them acted.  The coup de grace was the school we were the most familiar with.

The “interview” was going perfectly.  We told the principal what families we knew that attended there and were met with big smiles.  We toured the campus and liked what we saw.  We didn’t flinch when she exclaimed: “Let’s pray!”  We locked hands across the shabby chic desk and lowered our heads, ignoring her rings digging into our fingers.  It felt like it was a test.   We patiently listened to the “Christ-centered” decrees the school implents.  And we sat in her office and tried to ignore her overdone hair and makeup, spilling our guts with our sad story until she too handed out those words of bigotry.

“Oh, we certainly cannot offer that kind of service.” She said with a sardonic smile on her face. I was glad Dan was with me this time to see it.

“No, no, we will bring in the aide.” He says. The words I have said so many times in the last few days. “We don’t expect you to provide that.” Yup, those too.

“I understand that,” she says her white teeth peeking out from her red, glossy lips, “but we aren’t equipped to support a special needs child like him.”

It’s amazing how differently they all say the same thing. 

I shift in my seat and see Dan turn towards me and we meet eyes.  I see the frustration in his eyes and raise my eyebrows as if to say, “See what I mean?”  He nods and sighs. I take this as my cue. I turn back to the Dolly Parton look-alike.

“We aren’t looking for you to support him, just give us an educational backdrop that we can modify for him.” I say this as slowly and pleasantly as I can muster. I even flash her a sweet smile.  She sits unmoved.

“This campus would be such a great environment for him.”  I stretch this truth a little, but flattery always gets you places and I am again feeling desperate.  We are out of options.

“I am sorry. But it just isn’t something we can do.” Her smile more subdued and almost sympathetic.

“Let’s pray!”

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As the big holiday is here, I send out my wishes of cheer and love, mostly love to you all.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading this.


Fed up.  Done. No more.  These are the thoughts I hear in my head constantly.  I feel I am literally at the end of my rope.  There is nothing left of my patience.  Two years.  Two years we have tried to make it work  and I just can’t any more.   I can no longer tolerate their inability to help him.

I am waiting outside Dr. Hunter’s office.  We have a meeting today to discuss my options for Ryan’s schooling.  I trust her opinion today as much if not more than I did four years ago.

Ryan’s academic “career” at the public school has completely derailed. ‘Off the tracks’ is an understatement.  I can barely manage to watch him when I volunteer in his classroom.  The only way I can describe it–a caged animal.  Acting out worse than he ever did when he was first diagnosed.  Hitting, kicking, scratching and spitting.  Spitting is the worst in my book.  Not that any of the others are great, but when someone spits in your face it’s very demeaning.  When he used to do it to me, it took all I had to stay calm and not spit back.  I can’t bear to watch him to this to this poor district aide.  She flinches and jumps every time.  Playing right into his hand.  He wants these reactions from her—and he gets it.

Most days I enter the class and don’t even recognize him—his actions are so unlike the little happy boy I have at home; and there are days I don’t think he knows I am there.  I leave each time either crying or fuming…most of the time I have to leave early because I can be a distraction when he does realize I am there.

What am I doing to him? What are they doing to him?  Why can’t they see this isn’t him? Why won’t they let me bring in Dr. Hunter’s people? Why, Why, Why??? I feel as if I am full pot of water that is bubbling and boiling about to pour over on to the flames.  I am lost in these thoughts when she opens her door and smiles brightly at me.

“Hi. Nice to see you.” I know she means it when I look in her eyes.

“Hi.” I say quickly.  As much as I enjoy small talk, we have to get down to brass tacks as her hourly rate far exceeds mine.

The week before Dr. Hunter had observed Ryan at school at my request.  After the last terrible day I swore I would witness at school, I called her and asked for help.  She said she needed to see him in the environment and I naturally agreed.  She called me later that day and calmly told me that Ryan had run off campus.   What?! Ran. Off. Campus? The words take a minute to register in my head.  And I sit dumbfounded holding the phone in my hand.

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IEP’s are probably the most talked about issue in special education.  Curious what some have you have experienced…


I have no idea why my stomach is flipping over inside me.  Nothing has happened.  No one has spoken.  But I want to run away. Instead I take a ragged deep breath and look blindly at my notes and not actually reading.  I begin to realize why I am freaking out.  I know now why I didn’t sleep last night and have been anxious for days.

It’s the very idea that we are in our child’s IEP.  Yet another acronym that somehow is supposed to sum up our lives.  IEP, IEP, IEP! Those three little letters have been so foreboding and ominous like a storm cloud in the distance, and now it is here.  We are officially on our way to a life with special education.  Our beautiful boy will be enrolled in special ed.  Does that mean he will go to a “special” class? For how long?

I now understand why these meetings could, and do, go horribly wrong.  If the other parents are as worked up as I am, I can see why they start banging their fists and demanding things.  The emotions are overwhelming.  I feel as if my skin is on fire.  I am hyper-sensitive to every move in the room.  I am so stressed and it hasn’t even started!

Calm down.  This is for Ryan.  And I start to slow my heart down to concentrate.

The next three and a half hours, yes THREE and a half hours, trudge along.  The process seems overly formal at times–like we are at some sort of medieval civic meeting in Old London where the grey-wigged governor says things like “what say you?”

As everything is being “recorded” via furious notes by multiple people, things have to be repeated and re-repeated many times.  As well as the goals being typed into a computer by the school psychologist as he asks questions out loud like:

“Is everyone in agreement Ryan has been placed on the autism spectrum and is by law eligible to receive services by the school district? All in agreement” He says barely glancing around the table.  “Please put that in the notes”.

It is amazing to me how this psychologist’s (let’s call him Mr. Psyc) personality changed from when we saw him at school to sitting in this conference room today.  I almost think it isn’t the same person, except he is very recognizable.  Showing us around the school, Mr. Psyc was very pleasant and overly forthcoming.  While discussing the “epidemic” numbers of Autism and his life-experiences working with children…he actually started to cry.  Seriously. Real tears streaming around his bifocals and all.  Dan and I were frozen in shock—neither of us daring to move until we could figure out if he was for real or not. I dared not look at Mr. Psyc for  too long for fear I would either laugh in his wet face or wrap my arms around him and cry too.

Eventually the tears subsided, perhaps because we didn’t acknowledge them or he was embarrassed. He walked us to the parking lot and said we would receive instructions for the IEP soon.  The tour and strange meeting were over.  We (and I mean I) had alleviated our (again I mean my) trepidations about the school.  Sitting across from him today I wonder if he remembers his emotional outburst.  Perhaps that is why he can’t meet our gaze for too long.

After long discussions about Ryan’s disability and short comings, we get to what he needs in the way of “support”.  As if he’s an old woman’s sagging breast and needs a Victoria Secret lift.  I try to take it all in stride but I feel so alien, so foreign to this process.  As if soon I will awake from this strange dream.


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I am awakened by his whining.  The sun is out and I look at the clock. 5:50. Oh my god! We did it! HE did it!

I fly out of bed so fast, I make Dan jump up.  I don’t even stop to tell him what has happened.  I run to Ryan’s room fling open the gate and scoop him up in one swift move.  I smother him with kisses and tell him what a great job he did.  I don’t know if he understands me, but take him wrapping his body around me as confirmation.

We did it! We followed through.

He feels cold, so I take him into my room and smother him in my embrace under the blankets.  He lets me cuddle him and I feel so happy.

Happiness—no joy—joy that makes you feel as if you actually have wings, seems so rare these days, but it is really something I could get used to.

I feel a sensation to my soul, not just the warmth of happiness but something stronger.   I have a realization that moment.  When he was first diagnosed the grief I felt was not just for the loss of dreams for him, but the loss of hope.  I felt it drop out of my heart and thud to the ground with the force of an anvil.

What the professionals and doctors should have told us is: “don’t give up hope, just suspend it for awhile”.  Someone should have said “You have to believe.  In yourself, in your child, in…love.” But they didn’t.  Maybe they couldn’t… Dr. Hunter gave me her own words of encouragement…and I cling to them daily, I just didn’t realize how I had given up hope.

I have always believed hope has a strong connection to love–via faith.   Holding on to faith and allowing it to anchor you to hope can get you through anything.  I watched my mother battle cancer for ten years, and without hope she would have died within a year of diagnosis.  Just like what they told herYou have a year and half to live.  She told them to screw themselves—(not in such nice words either) she wasn’t looking for a death sentence and found new doctors.  Because she believed…really believed that she would beat the disease.  I know that is what kept her alive well beyond when she should have lived.

Hope.  Just the word alone seems to carry…magic.  I realize now why I was so sad when we were told his diagnosis.  The professionals had so few optimistic words as the disorder was still so new to those diagnosed so young.  They didn’t know what to tell us.  One of the staff at the county facility told me “This is not a sprint, but a marathon.”  I had no idea what she meant, but now I know.  In her own way she was trying to buoy my hope.

Letting go of hope takes you to a dark and awful place.  To lose such a wonderful tie to faith is like a death-a death I have been grieving for months.  Right now with my little boy sleeping through the night after one try; I have scooped hope up again and will not let it fall.  Because if I can conquer the things in this disorder that I feared, like the darkness of his sleep, anything is possible.


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 The plan I have come up with is not so involved, yet I chant in my head over and over what I’m going to do.  As if to psyche myself up.  Its going to be fine.  After a few days or weeksplease dont let it take weeks…he will be fine.  We allow him to fall asleep on the couch at 7:30, as usual.  I wait and watch him like a hawk, not able to relax.  At exactly 8:00 I take Jenna up and rush her into bed.   I am at the point I can’t take the waiting anymore.   I come back down and announce to Dan it’s time.

“Let’s take him up.”  It is 8:30–on a Friday and I’m putting us all to bed. He raises his eyes and looks at me surprised.

“Already? Don’t you want to make sure he’s really asleep?” This is what we normally would do.  Allow him to sleep for a few hours, so in the transport upstairs we don’t wake him.

“No, I want to get this over with.” I realize I am not just anxious but nervous.  The unknown of this behavior seems more terrifying than most of the others we have endured.  For every other behavior, hitting, spitting, tantrums, we have a protocol given to us by Dr. Hunter.  This one is just too simple.  Yet, I don’t feel at ease, I’m really worried.  Probably the reason it has taken me so long to finally do it.  This is up to us and us only to follow through.  I am obstinate in my belief this is not something the therapists can help us with.  Dr. Hunter has offered if we need late night help, but that was where we both drew the line.  We didn’t need help with this.  Or do we? As I’m walking up the stairs with him slouched over my shoulder, I am wondering if I shouldn’t have told them I was planning this tonight, and asked for some more suggestions—other than just ‘crying it out’.

I arrive at his room, lay him in his bed, cover him ever so gently and tip toe in extra slow motion out of the room.  I walk around the spot in the floor that squeaks, a spot that always woke him before.  Praying my ankles don’t “pop”—another sound that wakes him.  It seems to take so long to get to the door.  I close the baby gate with such care it would seem to be made of glass.  The dog shakes and his tags sound like the bells of Notre Dame.  I wince and freeze.  Surely this will wake him and I swear bodily harm on that beast.  I count to ten frozen in my spot and nothing happens, so I continue my painfully slow journey of fifteen feet.

I see Dan coming down the hall and motion with emphasis for him to be quiet.  He tip toes by Ryan’s door too and we get ready for bed without a sound.

Now…I wait.   I want to will myself to fall asleep, but I am too wound up.  I lay there staring at the green light on the smoke detector, a favorite place of mine, and pray for sleep.  Some sleep will be better than none.  Follow throughI silently mantra in my head over and over.

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I added a facebook page dedicated to this book.  These blog updates go there as well.  I hope to put more user friendly things there. Here is the link if you haven’t visited that page.  https://www.facebook.com/memoirmakeawishforme. Please be sure to ‘like’ it. Thank you.



I sit at my computer reading the final draft of the letter I have painstakingly prepared to send out to my family and friends.  After my last session with Roberta, I realize I don’t need her anymore.  Talking to her made me realize I need to reach out, as I have always done to family and friends to…heal.   I know I will find the strength to face this, but I also know I need to tell people what has happened, as my own “12-step” to getting beyond my pain and focusing on getting him well.   I write and re-write for hours.  I leave it and come back and write some more.  I cry while writing and while away thinking about what I wrote.  Is this really going to help?

When it’s finished—at least where I think I can’t rewrite anymore, I add a picture of him…I seem to do that a lot.  It’s like it humanizes him-a separation from the word that threatens to define him.  I also add an inspirational poem.


A friend of ours was walking down a deserted Mexican beach at
sunset. As he walked along, he began to see another man in the
distance. As he grew nearer, he noticed that the local native
kept leaning down, picking something up and throwing it out
into the water. Time and again he kept hurling things
out into the ocean.

As our friend approached even closer, he noticed that the man
was picking up starfish that had been washed up on the beach
and, one at time, he was throwing them back into the water.

Our friend was puzzled. He approached the man and said,
“Good evening, friend. I was wondering what you are doing.”

“I’m throwing these starfish back into the ocean. You see,
it’s low tide right now and all of these starfish have been
washed up onto the shore. If I don’t throw them back into the
sea, they’ll die up here from lack of oxygen.”

“I understand,” my friend replied, “but there must be thousands
of starfish on this beach. You can’t possibly get to all of
them. There are simply too many. And don’t you realize this is
probably happening on hundreds of beaches all up and down this
coast. Can’t you see that you can’t possibly make a difference?”

The local native smiled, bent down and picked up yet another
starfish, and as he threw it back into the sea, he replied,
“made a difference to THAT one!”

-By Jack Canfield
and Mark V. Hansen

Reading this again brings me to fresh tears.  This was one of my mother’s favorite stories.  A motto she chooses to live by…”one person can make a difference” and now I can bring her into this–even though she’s not here.  Great.  Another ‘bitter’ I could add to this experience.  One more notch in the belt for the grim reaper.  Being motherless sucks.

I stare at the computer for awhile longer. It is raw-the words about Ryan and now I am going to broadcast it to all our friends and family.  I am nervous because I also know that with giving people this information they will treat Ryan differently.  It is my biggest fear that he will be “different” or act weird or just look odd.  I don’t want a word to define him to so many who haven’t even met him, yet I know sharing this is the ultimate way of reaching out.

I just want him to be my little boy again…just a little boy…Please God, let him be that again. 

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This is freshly revised section…I am interested in feedback. I had to shorten the actual episode so I hope it makes sense.

Also, I am coming up on a month of posting to this blog.  I am thrilled with the response, but still need more subscribers.  Please make sure you put in your email and then once you get a confirmation, accept it!  And send it on to everyone you know! Many thanks to you all.


I push the cart quickly as I can so we can get in and get out of the grocery.  I realize this is the first time I’ve taken him to the store with me since we found out…found out.  I say that like it was such a casual thing.  Like I stumbled upon something interesting in Reader’s Digest…Honey, did you know they found a new species of beetle?  I have to shrug off my mental flogging this morning.

First, I need coffee.  After another rough night of Ryan not sleeping, I order a large size and head to the produce section.  I give him cookies he seems content.

As I get to the aisle nearest the registers, Ryan begins to scream and thrash in the cart.  I am a little startled and reach for him to offer some comfort.  He wants none of this and to show me, digs his nails into my arm.  He then pulls so hard on my bracelet, it snaps and beads are sent sailing in a million directions.  I watch him, almost in slow motion, grab my coffee and throw it.  It too goes in a multiple directions as it crashes to the ground.

I am now completely distraught, my chest is heaving and it takes all I have to not yell or cry, or both.  Once I mentally count to ten, I am aware of the mess around me and am afraid someone will slip.  I am afraid to move, but his shrieks are radiating though the store.  I realize I have to abandon ship but I have to tell someone about this mess.  I jerk my neck in every direction desperate to find someone.  Ryan is now starting to kick me and begins climbing out of the cart.  I pull him out and get him in a death grip on my hip.

Finally, I see a woman coming around from the check stand.  She is smiling sadly at me.  Oh, good she must understand 

“Can you help me? I’m sorry; he’s made such a mess.” I say trying not to cry.

“Wow, that is a mess.” She says, looking at the disaster around me.

“I’m sorry I have to take him out of here, I hate to leave you with this mess…” I look at her for acknowledgment.

“Whasamatta wif dis wittle guy?”  She says in a baby voice that irritates me so badly I feel my fist clench.  Then she does something no stranger should do to any child, especially a pissed off, autistic child.  She starts walking her fingers up his leg trying to tickle him.

“Wooks like someone needs a nap.” Ryan kicks her hand away–hard.  I know it had to hurt, but she doesn’t say anything.  She pulls her hand down looks at me turning  her head as if asking “what the hell is wrong with him?”

“I’m so sorry…he’s…autistic…” I say hoping that’ enough of an explanation.

She smiles big and bright.  “Oh, that’s great!”

What the hell?

Did she hear me? I have one of those flash forward moments again, and wonder how often I will have to endure this stupid reaction.  Is the world still so dumb to this disorder? God I hate thinking these thoughts…I just want to run away…

“Uh…okay, I’m gonna go.” I switch Ryan to my other hip, grab my purse and walk slowly through the latte lake.

“Okay, bye-bye now, get that little guy his nap!”

“Sure thing…”  I wish that would solve it, lady, believe me.

I let a out a sigh and realize my arm hurts and I see four blood streaks down my arm.

I stare at it a second, and my eyes fill with tears.


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