Dear lady in the urgent care waiting room,
Hi. I'm coughing my stupid head off and finally forced myself to come here. Everyone in my house has some funky bug that won't let up, so if anyone can't be sick, it would be me. They made me wear this stupid mask as soon as I told them I was coughing. Uhg, everyone is looking at me like I've got leprosy and kinda "leaning" in their chairs, towards the OPPOSITE direction of me. WHATEVER.
I noticed you as soon as you came in. You looked like a Mom, hair piled on top of head, no make-up on. Had that classic disheveled look that I am learning to know all too well. Your Son was very handsome, with mixed skin and bright blue eyes. He was tall and stocky, and his frame instantly reminded me of my Noah Robert. I'm guessing your son was maybe 10 or so.
As I sat in my chair, annoyed that I couldn't get cell reception so I could putz around on Facebook, something caught my eye. Your son made this hand gesture. Placed against his hip, with fingers spread and hand cupped, it turned in and out, over and over. Noah does that sometimes. I watched you, watching him as you were signing in and going over insurance issues with the nurse at the desk.
I knew your son was autistic.
And I couldn't keep my eyes off Him.
One time when I was in Target, a group of young men were guided around the store by what seemed to be their instructor. I assumed the group developmentally delayed guys were with their class learning about shopping at the local store. I hate to admit it, but I started to stare. I couldn't help it. I wondered "will that be my Son?" I fumbled around the shelves and I listened to the clicking and random shouts. I thought "Noah does that now, Will he do that then?" But soon I was discovered, as loud and authoritative tone shouted "Hi! How are you? Have a nice day!" while looking me dead in the eyes. The instructor was acknowledging the fact that I was being rude. Good for Him. I would (and have) done the same thing for Noah.
But please, Mom at the urgicare, let me explain. I was not trying to be rude. I searching for any glimpse of the future that I can. So please have more poise and patience as I study you and your son!
So, finally, me and your son lock eyes. You seemed to notice. He couldn't keep his eyes off me, I couldn't keep my eyes off him. I was trying to smile, but this stupid friggin mask is in the way. He got up from his chair, and with His eyes bulging out, he slowly walked closer and closer to me. You prompted him to sit down, but he acted like you weren't even in the room. I waved to him and said "Hi!" He froze dead in his tracts. My eyes shot to you. "You've got that mask on. He probably thinks your a ninja or something!" You laughed, as I did too. Ok, that makes total sense. Slowly your son backed up never taking his eyes off me, sat back in his chair and kept looking over his shoulder in my direction. It was sweet.
As I watched I was just overjoyed that you were clear across the room having a full conversation with the receptionist while he remained calmly on the other side of the room. Not trying to run away. Not climbing on everything. Not yelling or screaming or touching other peoples belongings. I was grinning so big under that stupid mask, let me tell ya!
I'm sorry, looking back I realize I was indeed staring. But I wasn't judging. I wasn't condemning, And really since this day I have a new found approach when I do see older autistic children out in public. Your son AND you gave me hope on a day that I was simply trying to get relief for an annoying cough.
I was called back and your sons eyes followed this "ninja" the whole way out the door. I kept thinking about your son as the chatty nurse went over my symptoms and currents medications, and blah, blah, BLAH. The nurse started telling me she has adopted a 5 year old girl, and that she had dental issues, and then somehow jumped to her nephew who is now in a special department in the Navy, who didn't start talking till he was nine, who was once diagnosed as autistic but is now considered to have aspergers, and "just how incredible is that?" In the midst of everything the rambling nurse was blabbing on about I realized a "God moment" had just taken place.
Those are THEE BEST AND MOST SWEETEST MOMENTS you can experience in this life. When in the midst of normalcy and the mundane, God orders and ordains a series of events to revive, rejuvenate and encourage and weak and weary bag of flesh and bones.
Maybe I will never see you again, lady in the urgicare waiting room, but I will never forget you!
Lady looking for hope in the urgent care waiting room