You rush to and fro like a chicken with its head cut off for days on end and wonder if you are making any headway whatsoever. Tempers get short and bedrooms get tossed looking for that special pair of shoes on opening night. But every once in a while something happens in the disorganized madness that makes you stop dead in your tracks.
Today two events, perhaps not the most earth shattering occurrences, made me stop and think, if only for a few moments.
My son is autistic, brilliant in many ways (math, computers et al) but in others maddening hard to ‘educate’ (personal hygiene for one). Today, as I was moving some large pieces of furniture, he decided to pull a temper tantrum (an issue at times). In my frustration, as his voice got louder and louder, so did mine, until we were yelling at each other at the tops of our lungs.
In the midst of this neighbourhood rattling dual tirade I stubbed my toe on the desk I was trying to negotiate through the living room. I let out a howl of anger and pain.
Sam stopped, mid sentence, looked at me seriously and said quietly, “Dad, are you ok?”.
I stopped in mid-hop, looked at him with a small smile on my face, and nodded “Yeah…”.
Then gave him a long, squishy hug that felt damned good.
This afternoon, after the furniture was moved, we walked downtown to see Mom at her shop.
While Sam visited, I slipped down the street to the Daisy Mart to buy some cigarettes. The couple running the store are Korean, not long in Canada I suspect, and much of our conversations involve hand signals and pointing to the appropriate packages on the shelf.
They are very nice people, and I would love to be able to speak Korean so we could strike up a real conversation.
Today, my cigarettes stuffed in the pockets of my parka, I turned to head back up the street when the lady at the counter said “Could you help me?”
I turned, surprised, as she rarely said a word.
On the counter was a notebook, with very neat printing on the open page.
“If you have minute only – please help.” she continued haltingly.
I looked down at the notebook. On it was written her first ESL assignment. As she read it aloud to me I pointed out a couple of small typoes and corrections – probably a lot less than in most High School English papers I have seen!
Gratefully she made the corrections, thanked me and I turned towards the door. It was about two doors up the street that it hit me. Wow! she actually trusted me enough to ask for my help! I felt honoured and could hardly wait to tell Mrs. B.
It’s been one of those weeks from hell, the kind you fall into bed exhausted on Monday night and wake up exhausted Friday morning. But along the way there are moments that put everything into perspective.
Nine hours later I am still smiling…