The popular show now is This Is Us. The show allows people to connect with the characters at some point in their lives. I know that some of the scenes from the show struck a chord with me.
As I was sitting in the waiting room for Sydney’s appointment I saw a family enter and I immediately said to myself “That Was Us.”
I’m assuming it was mom, dad and their two children. One of the children had special needs and there was an older typical sibling. The mother had her bag of tricks and dad was on the phone.
As I watched them I immediately had a flashback to our many doctor visits with both kids before the autism diagnosis. Then I remembered how we must have looked when we walked into the waiting room. Syd was two and non-verbal. If she wanted something she grabbed it. That included the toy from another child in the waiting room. Her communication tool was screaming.
We looked like we had it together. But we didn’t. I was trying to complete forms, Harrison wanted my attention, Sydney was eating all of the snacks that were supposed to last for the entire visit. It wasn’t pretty. Rob would ask me why are we here? How much does this cost?
As I fought back tears we were called to the examining room. Here I would put on my dog and pony show for the kids and tried my best to talk with Robert. Deep down he thought I had all of the answers because I was a teacher. That was far from the truth. I was starting this journey without a manual just like him.
Every appointment we would share her history, list of medications, treatment options, and her education. I felt like a tape recorder just push play. Our story wasn’t changing. We would schedule therapy sessions like a happy couple. But I was the one running like a mad woman.
That Was Us in the waiting room the other day. I could feel the pain of the mother. I saw the disconnect with the dad and the children were in the middle. Our family was loud. You knew we were coming a mile away and you probably did the happy dance when we left.
Autism taught me empathy. Autism taught me that it’s okay not to have it altogether. Autism taught me what love really means.
When I think about the family I saw, I hope they know one thing. The toys that their kids threw, the screams and the meltdowns won’t last forever. Pretty soon they will sit in a waiting room and watch another family come in and they will think “That Was Us“.
~Trouble doesn’t last always.