Saturday, February 12, 2011

It Has Gotten Better

Back in September when I wrote about my terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad experience with Joy's first day of kindergarten, I mentioned another even-worse breakdown that I'd have to write about someday. That experience came back to me this week at swim lessons, so I think it's time to tell the story.

During Tuesday's lesson, I was avidly peering through the glass at the pool waiting-room, watching Joy interact with a new swim teacher. (The wonderful one she started with has left the school, gah! but Joy loves the water so much that she smiled for the new gal anyway.) All of a sudden, a daddy behind me started telling me and another mom how he was a victim in a bizarre robbery incident that got written up in the newspaper. I'm thinking, gosh this guy looks familiar. As he proudly told us how he hassled the cops because he didn't want to tell them his name, and resented that they hassled him back, the feeling of familiarity grew. And suddenly, it clicked. I'd met this guy four years ago at the Children's Museum.

It was about this time of the season in 2007, and I'd been taking Joy to a weekly toddler-music program at the museum. It wasn't an easy thing to do. Joy likes music, but she didn't participate the way the other kids did, and I had to hover carefully to make sure she didn't grab for the other kids' tambourines or whatever. It had only been a few short months since the diagnoses that put the autism and LNSS labels to Joy's situation, labels that still sat like a massive weight on my shoulders.

Suddenly Joy decided she was all-done, and headed for the door. There were two little girls in her way, and instead of going around them like I expected, she gave the first one a shove. The two went down like dominoes, with the second domina grazing her head on a table on the way to the floor. A little blood, a lot of wailing -- and as I started to apologize to the girls' father -- THIS GUY -- his face twisted with anger and he snarled/spat "Thanks a LOT!" He hustled his daughters furiously out of the room before I could say another word.

And I started to bawl. The ugly-cry. Hot, awful tears that would not stop. The sobs just got worse when people started being kind to me... an acquaintance who worked another children's museum program and told me that "this guy" had a museum-wide reputation for unpleasant interactions... another mom with a kiddo on the spectrum who had made great progress... yet another mom who pointed out that any kid might have dealt that shove. It was all so supportive, and yet I couldn't pull it together. Someone even went and tipped off "this guy," who tried to apologize to me on the way out. I was over-reacting so hard to his initial over-reaction, I could hardly acknowledge him. It's a wonder I didn't crash the car on the way home.

Four years later. Once again "this guy" and I have our kids in the same program -- but this time my girl has the support she needs and is having a ball, and I'm in a much better place too, the start of kindergarten notwithstanding. It's kind of amazing to look back over those years and see how far we've come, how much we've learned, how much we've done, how much Joy has grown and matured and progressed.

It has gotten better.

And, we may even be switching our swim lessons to another day so we can have yet a third teacher this term, who happens to be the same wonderful teacher who taught Joy's very first swim lessons in the summer of 2008. Which would have the nice little bonus that I wouldn't even have to hang out poolside with "this guy"!

12 comments:

K- floortime lite mama said...

joymama giving you a hug for that time in the past
so proud of joy and how far she has come

K- floortime lite mama said...

and also screw that guy

Leah said...

Wow. That guy obviously has issues! I fund your blog through Autism Blogs Directory and I'm loving it. Thanks for sharing!

Leah
http://mommyonthebus.blogspot.com

JoyDad said...

Remind me to never be "that guy..."

JoyMama said...

Thanks for the hug & the pride, K! I actually found myself feeling rather sorry for "this guy" this time, not to mention his kids -- as Leah says, he pretty clearly has issues.

Leah -- good to "meet" you -- welcome!

JoyDad -- I can't imagine you as "this guy." Does not compute.

fullsoulahead.com said...

I totally get the crying harder when someone is nice to you. Sometimes a mom has just had had enough and needs to cry. Sorry you went through that and glad it has gotten so much better.

Bethany said...

I am so sorry you had to deal with one of "those parents" when you were still so raw from diagnosis. From the sounds of it he has not changed any. It is amazing and wonderful to see how far Joy and your entire family has come since then. So glad she is having a great time in swimming lessons!

Lynn said...

Ugh. I hate that guy! Did he recognize you? Or your bully of a child? Anyway, karma bit him on the ass because he apparently got assaulted and then pistol-whipped by a cop. At least that's the story I heard.

JoyMama said...

fullsoulahead -- isn't it strange about kindness = more crying? Probably has something to do with kindness reinforcing the sense that you do in fact have good reason to weep. Anyway, it helps to be in a better place.

JoyMama said...

Bethany - his robbery story was rather harrowing actually - his car slid off the road into a snow bank, and the first guy who stopped to "help" robbed him of all his money instead, and it took yet someone else to stop and help him out of the snowbank. But then he undid the sympathy factor altogether by being such a jerk to the police, and then bragging about it to any mom he could corner at the pool! No, it doesn't sound like he's changed.

JoyMama said...

Lynn -- you always hear (and tell) the best stories! LOL! No, didn't see any sign of recognition. I toyed with the idea of doing a "Hey, I know you!" but couldn't imagine any scenario in which that would turn out well.

Professor Mother said...

I'm so glad that you got to SEE how Karma got him! That's perhaps small and mean of me- but really? Hassling a cop after being robbed?

And how wonderful is it that Joy is loving swimming now? All things change in time...