I’ll apologize again. I’m sorry that my son startled you and even more so, that he walked in front of you when you were returning to your table with coffee. I know you must have thought it was intentional and that he was very disrespectful. He’s 5 and even more than other 5 year olds, he isn’t always as aware as he should be. Still, I saw it happen and left my place in line to come over to you. I made sure you were okay – that you hadn’t spilled any coffee – and apologized for the incident.
I understood and agreed with your concern that you both could have been burned since you were carrying coffee, in an open cup. I was about to go over and tell my son to come back over and apologize for his mistake when you decided to take your concerns to a new level.
This is where you lost me.
You decided to unleash some anger – telling me to ‘get control of THAT child.’ You repeated it several times, warning me it was the truth and I better get control of him. I didn’t really care that everyone in the cafe was looking at us or that you were judging me as a mom. I only cared that my son was watching the whole thing.
Up to this point, I was all on your side. I left my spot on line, took accountability as parent and was about to speak to my son and ask him to apologize for his mistake – for having not realized he was walking in front of you. But after you spewed your rant, I decided that was not going to happen. You could have said anything else and still had me on your side. You could have said, “please tell your son to be more careful; please teach your son to look where he is going, please make sure you keep a better eye on him.” But that’s not what you said.
You see, THAT child that I should get control over – he has a disability. He’s 5 – so after many appointments with specialists, and pediatric neurologists, we’re left with a lot more questions than answers. I’ve known something was different since he was 2. We’re not really sure what makes things so difficult for this little boy, but things are tough for him. He has sensory processing issues, trouble with social situations, trouble attending, and some characteristics that lead this mom to think of high-funtioning autism. It’s been a long, hard road but he has overcome so much. Not speaking until 3, difficulties with reading, writing and fine motor skills. All of it, he’s overcome and amazed us beyond words.
So, as his mom, I want you to know I DO spend my time trying to get CONTROL. But not over him. I’m spending countless hours researching and working with him to teach him to do the things that come so easily to you and I.
He’s not THAT child. He’s a child. He’s my child.
And if you’re a mother, you know you will do anything for your child. To see them happy and successful.
It’s people like you who truly worry me. You’re the people who see the behaviors, see the difficulties and the disability and insist he is just a bad kid, weird or out of control. You only saw a kid who obliviously walked in front of you. You don’t know that he’s the kindest, sweetest kid who would have apologized. His smile is infectious, his sense of humor great and he’s smart. But someone like you will never know that – because he’s THAT child to you. And that’s all he’ll ever be to people who think like you.
But, you know what? I will take your advice. I will make sure I get control. I will work every day of my life to help him get control over his disability, even if just a little bit. I’ll help him develop the skills he needs to succeed and ensure he knows how to surround himself with good people who are willing to see his value. People who see the little boy first. Not the behaviors. I’m ready for that uphill battle.
A Mom Who is Trying Her Best