The other day, my son Sawyer had a doctor’s appointment.  We did not tell him about it beforehand because then he just obsesses and tantrums about it for the whole day.  Why?  Because he likes going because he gets a free toy (or, usually, about 4 free toys) to destroy on the way home.  It’s one of his very favorite places to go, and if he knows he’s going beforehand, it’s an OCD nightmare.  So, we didn’t tell him our plan.  He went to school as usual with no idea I was going to pick him up early.

When it was time to pick him up from school, I went to his classroom and he was working alone at a table. He didn’t see me.  One of the aides said, “Look who’s here, Sawyer.”  He looked up at me and his face was completely blank for about 5 seconds like he didn’t know who the hell I was. (It was just that he was totally not expecting to see me in the middle of his day.  He has a set routine that they follow religiously, and mom showing up half way through was something to be processed.)  I told the teacher that we were going to proceed to the place where one gets checkups (yes we really ARE forced to talk like this!)  Then something really neat happened.

Sawyer’s face lit up and he smiled wide.  He jumped up, came over and gave me a big spontaneous hug.  These are to be treasured because he is quite stingy with them usually.  We got him ready and we left.  On the way to the car he hugged me again for a long time and said, “Thank you, mama!”  This, I admit, made me cry even though I wasn’t exactly sure what I was being thanked for.  Maybe he just needed a break.  Maybe he was just happy to be getting to go on an unexpected car trip.  One thing though,  he has NEVER thanked me spontaneously before.  Not once in 14 years.  We can prompt a thank you (and we do on a regular basis), but he doesn’t say it unless we prompt him.  So that was a really wonderful thing.

We went to the doctor’s office.  As soon as we pulled in he was very excited, but he didn’t tantrum or start obsessing (Doctor.  Doctor.  Doctor!)  He also didn’t tantrum in the office while we waited, he didn’t try to destroy anything or start yelling… he just sat quietly beside me and patiently waited like the other kids did.  In fact, it might have been the first time he passed, in public,  as “normal” since babyhood.  No one gave him a second look.  By this time, Iwas having a MARVELOUS time, and realized that a miraculous thing was happening, and I was going to enjoy the hell out of it while it lasted.

He was so good in the office that the doctor was floored and ecstatic (we are both used to a very different Sawyer) and was just gushing about this wonderful turnaround (which I assumed, wouldn’t last–hence the appreciating it while it’s going on thing).  Then, it happened.  The doctor told me that Sawyer was SO lucky to have us as parents because we were such great parents.  Wonderfully patient and loving.  Heroes.  Saints really.  And I deflated completely.  Sigh.

…Him don’t know us vewy well, do he?

Don’t get me wrong, the doctor didn’t mean to ruin anything for me, he though he was just giving us a compliment.  It just happens to be one of my pet peeves when people act like keeping your own CHILD who you LOVE at home and taking care of him because he needs you somehow qualifies you for sainthood.  It doesn’t.  Parents do many things just because you have to and you need to.  Things are not always sunshine and roses at our house.  In fact, our public face and our private face are quite different.  The patience I show Sawyer in public when he tantrums might or might not be extended to him when the same thing happens in private.  We are not perfect and if people think we are, we cannot help but fall.

Yes, Sawyer is difficult (that is an understatement!), but he’s my baby.  What else am I going to do with him but take care of him?  I don’t know anyone, not one person, who, if blessed with a child like Sawyer, wouldn’t care for him at home.  And this includes the doctor.  You deal with the cards you are dealt and that’s that.  I think it’s more probable that most folks cannot imagine actually LIVING like we do, day in and day out, and so we are both pitied and  saintified (yes, I know that’s not a real word!) by the masses.  Much like I cannot imagine how parent cope with their kids having cancer.  Yes, I suppose I COULD deal with it, if I had to, but I sincerely hope and pray that God spares me from having to walk that particular road.  It’s unimaginable to me, and those parents seem like saints to me–though I imagine my attitude annoys the hell out of them too.

It’s magical thinking.  No way could I handle that so THOSE people must be somehow more equipped to handle it than I am.  That’s why they got the disabled child and I didn’t.  The child with cancer and I didn’t.  God made them special, somehow.  He gave them more patience.  More kindness.  A double sample of love.   When in fact, we are just like you.  We could BE you if that was your destiny.  As for me, I didn’t ask for this, and I wouldn’t have signed on for this particular set of problems, had I had a choice.  But I didn’t.  And I trust God enough to trust Him with the details and how this all works out in the end.  I know He has a plan and a purpose for Sawyer’s life, and that’s good enough for me.

By the way, new toon up today.  I will try to (at least for this week) upload cartoons on Mon, Wed and Fri and see how that works out.

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