What Really Matters

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“You are so MEAN!  Agghhh!”

I turned my body to the side and lifted my leg up by instinct to block the blow of punches that began to fall.

“Declan, it’s okay.” I said with squinted eyes in my defensive position.

“No it’s NOT!  I want the APP!”

“Declan, we will try to get the app!”

“Aggh!” he yells and begins to run off.

I reach and I grab the first thing I can. I get a handful of his shirt to stop his forward progress and find his wrist to hold as he lurches forward.


“Declan, I’m not trying to.  Please settle.  It will be okay.”

I let go of his hand and make sure his body is in front of mine.

“No it’s NOT!”  The screams continue.

The battle started five minutes earlier.  When he saw another person had an app on their device that took a picture of themselves – then they could do funny things with the picture.  Declan was enamored.

Declan wanted the app.  He wanted it NOW.  Even though he didn’t have his device.  And his device can’t do the pictures.  But there was no way I was going to tell him the second part.

For those previous five minutes, I had been chasing him up and down the lengths of a soccer field.  Thankfully at this point the soccer game was over.

Truly unfortunate though, it was the time that all the cars were beginning to leave.  And in his total focus on THE APP, he was no longer aware of his surroundings.

My entire focus had become trying to stop him from running into the parking lot.  Cars were everywhere.  It was unsafe.

I was a body shield.  I was trying to surround his meltdown and keep him contained.  As he cried and lamented not having this APP right now, I was trying to keep him contained with the least amount of contact possible.

“Agggghhhh!!!” He yelled and the punches began again.  I pulled myself into a standing ball to protect myself.  As he began to try to kick me, he fell.

I stood over him to be sure he was physically okay.  Holding his head, he cried some more.

I saw my husband across the field as he talked to another parent and motioned for him to come over.  As he started his approach, Declan stood.

Declan shook his head back and forth and screamed, then he lunged to the side.

I grabbed his shirt and gained access to his wrist again.  I held tight as Declan pulled.  Cars were still moving.

It was then that it happened.  As Declan was screaming and pulling I looked up and saw the eyes.  Sitting in a passenger seat of a parked car directly in front of us.  Waiting for all the inhabitants to get inside so they, like all the rest of the cars, could drive away.

The eyes darted away when they saw mine.  I wondered what they saw.

I mean, I can guess what the eyes saw.  But what did they really SEE.  What did they really KNOW.

A temper tantrum or a meltdown?  A spoiled child or a child having a hard time?  An abusive mother or a mother trying to keep her child safe?

I will never know.  And it is one thing in the world of autism I have been able to overcome.  I don’t care what those eyes may have determined about what they saw.

Declan was safely taken to a car to de-escalate.

And that is what really matters.  He was safe.


12 thoughts on “What Really Matters

  1. Oh yeah, I quit caring about the looks and the comments a while ago. It wasn’t easy but like you said, keeping them safe is the only thing that matters. Poor Declan & poor mama! It’s so hard when they just don’t understand. We *fix* so many things, why can’t we *fix* everything?! And immediately, of course! Sending hugs💌💌💌💌

  2. Maybe the eyes sympathised , maybe the eyes had admiration in how you were dealing with a child in meltdown, maybe the eyes had experienced first hand how difficult it is to control such a situation. Not everyone is judgemental, just ignorant and unable to express how they feel. 🌹❤️🌹❤️

    1. You are right – they could have. Most of the time I have tunnel vision in those instances – I do not even see other people. It was just that our eyes met for a second that I thought about it. They could have seen good in the bad situation though – you’re right!

  3. If I had been those eyes I think I would have recognized this was not just a spoiled child or an abusive parent. I might not have known exactly what it was but I would have recognized it was something outside the borders of plain “bad behavior”. And the main reason for that is how you were behaving and shielding him. This does not indicate an abusive parent. I salute you!

  4. The people who were staring probably were looking for entertainment like a kid being hit by a car. You denied them that sort of sickening show. Good for you!

    There is another blogger I would like you to try to connect with. She has a pair of twins who have recently been diagnosed as being autistic. Her blog is something like “The Bam blog” She is at her wits end according to her last post. The kids are not in preschool yet.

  5. You know, my take away from this is that because you are a parent, you have chosen to buckle down for the ride – the whole ride. But you are human too and you have vulnerabilities just like the rest of humankind. You are susceptible to the society around you too. You have the right to be. So for a moment that vulnerability surfaced? So what? Go ahead and indulge in your humanity. We all have faith in your superpowers and your ability to take control of the console in the next moment. Your vulnerability and the ability to overcome it to focus on what really matters only makes me admire you more. *hugs*

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