Sunday, January 06, 2013

Ergh, embarrassment . . .

Yesterday I had to run some errands and help a friend with a home improvement project.  I took Dustin and McCartney and then we decided we would go do a bit of shopping.   Heading into Kohls he asked if we could go to the pet store.  The answer was no.  He obsesses over pet stores and truly I was not in the mood for it today.  I told him we were going to the mall next and I would get him a pretzel.  I could tell in his eyes that was not acceptable and he was going to make me pay for it. 

Once we were inside he kept venturing farther and farther away from me.  I ignored it.  I could tell he wanted me to chase him.  We have not had an issue in public like this for a long time, not since our trip to Kmart where the police were actually involved.  I decided that I would not chase him and I actually needed to try on some undergarments so I would just let him wander the store.  I was fairly confident he would not leave the store and every time I saw him sneaking by me I would mention to him that he could keep walking around and I would tell him when we were leaving.  Of course I was smiling even though I wanted to holler at him to get his butt back over here where I asked him to be!  I did not want an incident, little did I know . .  .

When it was time to go, we headed toward the checkout.  He came by soon and I told him we were leaving.  He jumped, hollered NO, and ran away.  I explained to the checkout girl that he was special needs (even though he is bigger than me and look completely typical)  and I didn't want to cause a scene.  I told her I was going to go sit on the bench near the door and wait.  She was very kind and asked if I wanted her to page him, I knew it wouldn't do any good.   I wanted to chase him down with every fiber of my being, but I knew it would be ugly, and quite frankly since I broke my leg last year I have a hard time walking, let alone running.  Also, I am trying to have GRACE this year and I thought that waiting patiently and being non-confrontational would result in a better ending for all of us.

After sitting there about a half hour, I knew we had not made any progress.  I knew it was time to see if I could get him to comply.  I walked toward the back of the store and asked McCartney to stay up front.  I saw him and he ran back to the bathroom next to the service desk.  I was thrilled.  I knew he was trapped and I knew if I just waited him out, I could snatch him when he came back out.  I explained to the service desk that he was special needs and that I would likely be creating a scene when he came out.  The young man and woman there seemed to understand and gave me those sympathetic eyes.  There were 12 or so people in line to return merchandise too. I was irritated and embarrassed by the point and my voice was bit quivery but I was holding it together.   The worst part is that McCartney had no idea I was standing there and I was worried because she was still up front.

I waited.  And waited.  After about 10 minutes I figured he knew I was out there and he was not going to come out.  I decided to go into the men's restroom and talk to him.  Nice.  He was huddled into the corner of the handicapped stall and refused to talk to me at all.  I knew we were at a standstill.  The stall lock was not one that I could unlock from outside and I was not able to crawl under (ew!).  I walked back out defeated with people staring.

The young man at the service desk asked if he could try.  I told him I didn't think it would make a difference and I was worried it would irritate the customers standing in line to be helped.  HE said he wanted to try.  After about 5 minutes he opened the door and Dustin came walking out.  I was thrilled! I told him how thankful I was and that I appreciated his kindness.  I began to sob and he siad, "Can I hug you?"  It was very kind and very much appreciated.  I was mortified and he made me feel very understood.  This young man was only about 25 years old.  I was so very thankful. 

I held Dustin's wrost and made the trek back up the front of the store with him hollering all the way.  It was fabulous I tell ya! (not)  By this point McCartney had found me and was just as embarrassed as I was.  We left the store with him yelling and me sobbing. 

I put him in the car and took him home.  I picked up Harrison and we went to the mall.  I really did not want to go but McCartney was looking forward to spending her gift cards from Christmas.  We stopped at the pretzel place and sat down to eat.  A little girl walked past us with her parents.  She was mentally handicapped and had an obvious outward disability.  She was carrying on and her parents were simply holding her arm and walking through the mall.  Harrison looked at me and said, "Mom, see that girl over there? I kind of wish Dustin looked like her.  Then people would know why he acts like he does.  They wouldn't think it was your fault." 

Yes, dear boy.  Me too.  Sigh.

10 comments:

Gretchen Espich said...

Sheri, I can only imagine the pain you felt and want you to know how honored Iam to have made your acquintance. While Iwould hope that Dustin could appreciate how much you do for him everyday, and how lucky he is to have you as his mother, Iknow that may never come to pass. Still, ignore the eyes and comments (or unsaid comments). You have the grace you need and you are a beautiful soul.

Sunday Taylor said...

I have had that very same thought about a child (now a grown man)...maybe if he LOOKED disabled people wouldn't expect him to understand or behave in ways he is just not capable of...even when people KNOW, they seem not to be able to hold it in perspective without the visual remainder that something is out of the ordinary here...i can only imagine how frustrating it must be to always be held to an unrealistic standard based on LOOKING lucid…I not only see this with FASD, Neurological damage but with relatives with alchemies as well…it is a tough row for all involved…

Sunday Taylor said...

Darn spell check *Alzheimer’s

Carol said...

I can only imagine how hard this whole thing was. I was really touched by your grace and by the kindness of the young man at the store. Kinda gave me watery eyes...

GB's Mom said...

{{{hugs}}}

:)De said...

Hugs to you and PEACE! thank you for your post on Grace. It is exactly what I needed to hear and thought of repeatedly yesterday. Love ya!

Hpy4evrmor said...

I read this with tears in my eyes because I can easily relate to this entire story. Noah gives us a run for our money, every chance he gets. And because he doesn't look like your typical child with Down Syndrome, we are often judged by his behavior and are assumed to be horrific parents. Add in a side of Autism, and his behavior is off the charts. It may not make it easier, but know that you aren't alone. You stayed poised in a tough situation, and that is what is important. Hugs to you!

Becky said...

Oh Sheri! I had to chuckle though as I've stood in similar shoes - only I wasn't nearly as graceful. DS pinched his finger on the grocery cart that I had asked him a cazillion times to quit fiddling with. That did it. The pinch was all it took to trigger him and he was off and running, yelling the entire time "GET AWAY FROM ME, STAY AWAY..." I tried calmly chasing him through the store with my grocery cart. That wasn't working so well, so at one point as I ran past my daughter I dropped off the grocery cart yelling at her to meet my at the front of the store. DS had quite the lead by then and I was unable to find him. But of course we had made quite the spectacle by then :-(. I ended up having to have store staff and security help me find him. It was a young male clerk who had the idea to check the mens bathroom. He opened the door and there was DS huddled in the far corner on the floor, in a ball sobbing. The clerk immediately felt sorry for him and asked "Are you ok little boy? Do you need some help?" That was the last straw. The picture we made- little brown boy sobbing on bathroom floor, hollering " get away from me" ... and the irritated white woman, smoke rolling out of ears, calmly but quite firmly saying "get your butt off that floor this minute and get out here!" He timidly came out, I grabbed him by the wrist and scolded him all the way to the car with "do you realize how dangerous it is to run away from me in public..."

I'm so glad the clerk who helped you gave you a hug. You deserved it <3

Hedged in Beauty said...

So very grateful there was an encourager for you in the midst of yucktitude.

"Lil Ol' Me" said...

***Have I told you lately that I love you?***

I do. And I can't even begin to tell you how it hurts my heart you are doing this alone. (sound familiar)

It does...and I wish beyond wishes we could be closer. To fill each others cup when it runs low.

I love you!!