Since my last post, the bulk of my time has been spent addressing Jack’s untreatable eight-day completely nasty gastrointestinal virus, as well as my own stomach flu. My illness, while horrific, was merely a blip on the family radar. Jacky’s disease was epic, explosive, and completely all-consuming. And it lasted for soooooo long.
It’s over now, thankfully, and tomorrow Doris and Missy can once again bus my redhead to school. I can start recuperating.
Jack’s icky bowel trouble kept him from coming to the cabin for a fall harvest-y weekend with cousins and pumpkins. He stayed home with Jeff and played with the electric train and the shop vac, and went on an outing to the Home Depot.
Who knew that Jack would love the Home Depot so much? Certainly not Jeff, who gambled on Jack behaving himself during a new and unknown-type of outing. Turns out, the Home Depot is a complete wonderland for a boy who loves ceiling fans, light fixtures, and shopping carts.
It must have seemed like one ginormous garage, with it’s endless cache of power tools and extension cords, stacked lawn furniture and bags of fertilizer. Jack can’t ever get enough of messing things up in our garage. Jeff reported that Jack was quite exuberant.
He was loud enough and vocal enough that apparently Jack garnered some strange and questioning looks–the kind which used to wither a piece of my soul, but which now scarcely register on my inner dialogue of “do I care what a few clueless dolts think about my sweet Jacky’s boisterous excitement at going someplace fun? No I don’t.”
Jack was greeted heartily by an older employee, who didn’t understand why Jack wasn’t responding to his questions. When Jeff mentioned Jack’s cognitive disability, the man seemed a little embarrassed, probably, I’m guessing, because he felt he shouldn’t have been asking a disabled child questions. Not sure. Anyway, he needn’t have felt embarrassed. But he could have followed up with a high five or a fist bump, or a “bye,” which are all really basic social gestures which Jack has mastered.
I like that when Jack goes out in public, he is an ambassador of sorts for people with special needs. He just is. I used to put specialty stickers hand-crafted by my sis (who could probably find a comfortable niche selling such wares on Etsy, I’m suddenly envisioning) on the back of his shirts. They said “I have autism.” When he wore them, we no longer got the stink-eye from other people, and we certainly no longer got the “you should learn how to be a parent” comments which are burned in our memories.
Back at the home improvement store, Jeff said that as they checked out and headed for the car, they were nearly struck by a cart being pushed gleefully by a boy with Down’s syndrome, whose dad was doling out advice on how NOT to run into people while driving the shopping cart.
Jeff felt a moment of flickering kinship with the dad of the happy cart-pushing boy. Just a couple of special kids scoping out the Home Depot with their dads on a Saturday afternoon.
I’m struggling to verbalize exactly why this warms my heart so, but it really really does.