Monday, May 18, 2009

Three Unexpected Hugs

Sorry I've been a little scarce for a few days. Had two presentations in rapid succession, first a short reflection for Sunday night's worship service, and then a public-comment presentation for the Wisconsin Autism Council (related to my Updates & Downdates post back in March.)

Both went well. In fact, the Autism Council meeting was the site of the first unexpected hug today.

The Autism Council is an advisory body, appointed by the governor, meant to provide guidance to the Department of Health Services on statewide supports and services for children with autism, particularly the Medicaid waiver program through which the state is providing intensive services for Joy. They meet quarterly, and the first half-hour of each meeting is reserved for public comment from anybody who wants to show up and speak up.

There was one other mama who had signed up to speak before me, who had a concern about children being bumped out of the program for supposedly making too much progress, even when the needs were still substantial. We chatted a little before the meeting and established some common ground, but I was still startled in a good way when she had finished her comment and I was going up to give mine, and she caught me in a warm hug and wished me well.

Whether it was the hug that did it or not, I felt that my remarks about providing intensive autism services in natural settings other than the home were well-received by the Council. There was a department administrator (not a Council member) who responded at length, downplaying my concerns to some extent, but I spoke back up again and I think at least made myself heard. I got to have some additional conversation with one of the Council members out in the hall so as not to disturb the meeting. Made me feel like a player, at least! We'll see what's next.

Then toward the end of the day, I got another hug. This one was when we went to pick up our new Honda Fit that I mentioned randomly a couple of weeks ago. Such a cute, bright-red creature it is! We worked with the same saleslady who sold us a CR-V eight years ago, an enthusiastic and down-to-earth person who loves her job and does it well. A new car purchase is a celebrative occasion at this dealership, complete with a big red bow on the top of the car and an official photograph of the happy owners with their new purchase. Unfortunately I had to scoot back home with Rose before we'd had the full grand-tour of the new purchase, to relieve our neighbor who was sitting in on a Joy therapy session, but as I was making our goodbyes I got a great big saleslady hug. Thanks and cheers all around!

OK, that's two hugs.

The third hug-event of the day was one that happened while we were out signing the car-papers. When Rose and I arrived home, Joy's barista was eager to share a moment from the therapy session. She and Joy were exchanging hugs and Joy twice said the word "hug," both times with exaggerated "h" and "g" sounds. "I'm pretty skeptical about these things," said the barista, "but if I weren't so skeptical, that sure did sound deliberate!"

Reminds me of the Popeye Sighting from last October. That hug-word is IN there. It surely is.

What a fine day for a hug, or two or three!


Anonymous said...

{cyber hug}

I'm not stalking you, but when you don't post for 5 days...well, I was just going to check one last time before calling out an APB. Whew!

You are a 'player' in my book, and rightfully you should be feeling like one.

Nice car. (I'm having to stuff a little envy to get that out.)

The last hug story made me smile. BRatK

Mama Mara said...

A big HuG to you for doing your part to advocate for our kids! Thank you so much for getting involved.

And thanks for the big smile I'll be wearing all day, every time I think about your post.

Anonymous said...

three well deserved hugs! the world doesn't hug enough. nice to see some grassroots effort to change that :)

pixiemama said...

My kids LOVE this book that says the word "Hug" over and over. I'll try to find it on Amazon and send you the link.


Anonymous said...

Here's a fourth HuG!!