A funny story… But, it is really a story that only a part of a child on the autism spectrum can really relate to and understand.
What’s the story?
My son likes to put lotion on his hands. (He inherited my issue of dry hands.).
He likes a certain brand. He keeps a few small bottles of lotion in his school backpack, and one large bottle in my car.
About a month ago, I looked at the bottle in my car and commented to him that it appeared as if the bottle was empty.
He claimed it wasn’t. He wanted to completely finish this bottle of lotion.
Ever since that day a month ago, until three days ago, it (kind of) became a joke between the two of us. “Hey, son, isn’t that bottle empty yet?” “No, Mommy, there’s still some left.” As he digs into the bottle with the plunger thingie to pull out yet another tiny glob.
He really was determined to get every last drop of lotion out of that bottle.
What happened three days ago?
We got rain here in Southern California.
We got a lot rain.
What’s the big deal?
Well, first of all, it doesn’t rain here much (especially in the last few years). And, when it does, it often comes down in buckets. Lots of water.
In a parched place.
And, with street drainage that’s, well, let me just say that I think the East Coast does it better.
When a ton of water falls on this area, the streets can’t handle it.
A lot of the drainage systems must be plugged or something.
All I know is the intersections are often ponds of water, and the side of the roads are rivers.
What does the side of a street being a river have to do with anything?
Let me just say this again…The side of the streets become rivers.
This is important for this reason…
On this rainy day, I dropped my son off at school.
As he was getting out of my car, he knocked the (very, very close to empty) lotion bottle out onto the street.
It’s pouring rain and there are a lot of other car dropping off their kids.
It’s chaotic. A mixture of rain, cars, and kids with umbrellas and backpacks.
My son immediately exclaimed, “Mommy, the lotion bottle dropped out of the car.”
I made an instant decision (in my mind, my son needs to go to school. That’s first and foremost.)
So, I told my son, “Get inside. I’ll get it.”
He closed my car door and hustled out of the rain and into the first building.
At that moment, did I know what I had gotten myself into?
Because the first thing I hadn’t realized (or had forgotten) was that our streets have these rivers of rain water. Rivers!
Where was the lotion bottle?
Floating down the river.
It was really kind of artistic when I look back on it. This white (empty, isn’t empty, why can’t my son admit the damn thing is empty) bottle of lotion floating in between tire wheels and wet feet.
So, there I am, sitting in my car.
I see the bottle floating.
I understand the situation because I’m the mother of a child with autism.
I have to get that bottle back!
(I’ll explain in a minute.)
To continue, I see the bottle going, and I have to pull my car forward because (again) there are other people needing to drop off their kids.
I pull forward and think, “Okay, I’ll stop the bottle with my tires and get out and get it.”
Yeah, I pulled in front of the floating bottle thinking this was a gem of a plan.
Nope. Just before I was about to get out, I saw the bottle float away.
Plan number one was a dumb plan.
Onto Plan #2… Get out (in the rain) and get the damn thing.
I decide to (again) pull in front of it because why would I leave my car and run up ahead of it, thus leaving my car to sit there and block (yet again) parents from dropping off their kids.
Just as I’m about to kick Plan #2 into gear, my son calls. “Mommy, did you get the lotion bottle?”
“I’m working on it.”
I keep him on the phone while I pull well in front of the moving object and climb out of my car.
I run back and retrieve the bottle. No umbrella, forgot to remove my glasses, and my sneakers getting all kinds of wet. I do, however, have the social awareness to wave at my neighbor who is parked right behind the bottle dropping off his sons.
I hustle back to my car and climb in.
I’m wet, my glasses are all spotty, but I was successful.
I got the bottle.
My son, still on the phone, says, “Mommy, did you get it?”
“Yes, I did.”
“Good. I would have worried about that all day long.”
Let me repeat that last one, “I would have worried about that all day long.”
That’s the line that only parents of kids on the autism spectrum would understand.
My son who have worried all day long…if I had lost his…EMPTY bottle of lotion!
And, he would have.
He would have worried.
Over a bottle (need I say it) of lotion.
Ours kids fixate on things. In this case, my son would have fixated on that stupid bottle.
Yep, it is… And, it isn’t. It’s something I get. Others get it, and still others don’t.
An empty bottle of lotion would have (possibly) thrown off my son’s entire school day.
An empty bottle of lotion floating down a river of rainwater. Almost gone. Yet, retrieved because… well, I had to. My Aut parents get it. I had to get it. And, I did.
For Parents of Kids on the Autism Spectrum
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