Never before have I had an epiphany while on an eliptical machine...
I just joined a fitness club, not because I need to lose weight, but because I needed some inspiration. I needed some fresh air after the cold and the snow and the decorations came down. I needed to get out and see people, friends, and remember to be kind to myself. I needed a challenge, and I wanted to step outside my comfort zone. Imagine that.
As I was...elipticizing (???)...I chatted back and forth with a friend of mine who I joined with. When we finished our half hour, she said good-bye and I headed to work on a few more machines. A woman smiled at me as I was wiping down an ab machine I fondly refer to as "Killer." I paused, thinking she might ask me a question. She looked like she was about to and then turned and walked away.
I was slightly confused as I got situated on "Killer." I made a note to approach her after I was done.
As I passed the eliptical machines on my way to the locker room, I saw this woman again. I made a quick decision to hop back on the machine next to her, hoping to strike up a conversation...and not get punched in the face.
Her face was not what it was 15 minutes before. She was somber, focused, and kept her gaze directed away from me. On purpose.
Defeated, I decided I couldn't get off of the machine after only 30 seconds, so I set my course and kept pushing myself. My legs were done. But I felt like I needed to wait for her.
She finally finished up and I pretended I did too. I had given up as she cleaned her machine and walked away. I guess I wasn't supposed to talk to her after all. Embarrassed, I walked to the locker room to get my sweatshirt and keys. As I was zipping up my hoodie, I felt someone come up next to me.
"I'm sorry...I just thought you looked like someone I knew. I must look like a weirdo..." It was her. The woman I caused paralysis in my legs for. I smiled at her. "No, no, not a weirdo. I just wondered if...you were...okay." The words came out of my mouth like a splash on the floor. After a pause, she spoke.
"I just noticed you here yesterday, and I saw your Walk for Autism shirt...and then, today...I saw you were wearing a shirt about...Team Isaac with that "Keep on Truckin" saying on the back...it was inspiring to me, I don't know...and I just wanted to tell you without being weird." Nervous laughter.
I tried not to cry. I was so touched. "Isaac is my son, actually, and we had these t-shirts made up when we walked in his honor a few years ago. We put a truck on the back because, well, he loves anything with wheels, and keep on truckin' is the slogan we decided on since...you don't stop fighting for the ones you love, no matter how hard or how long it takes, right?"
She nodded and smiled but it looked sad. "Have a good one." She put on her jacket and walked out. I wondered how hard that was for her to tell me what she just did.
We don't always know the reasons why we end up where we do, at what time, and with whom. I flashed back to the day I wore that "Keep on Truckin'" t-shirt on a cold September day in 2009, watching Isaac in his stroller as we walked...I remember looking at him and wondering where he'd be and how we'd get there. Today, I knew I was there not to BE inspired, but to be and INSPIRATION. I really hope I see her again, and maybe we can talk more.
My legs are sore, but my heart is revived.
Friday, January 11, 2013
My phone rings. It's two-something in the afternoon. It's a Friday, I have dessert done for a get-together later tonight--the sun is out, promising for an unseasonably lovely weekend...and the phone rings. I recognize the phone number. It's Isaac's teacher. I take a deep breath and answer.
"Hello?" "Hi Mrs. Hladky, it's Mr. Wojnicz, Isaac's teacher..." "Oh, hi, how are things?" (Don't know why I ask this question, so I squint my eyes shut and smack my forehead...but we keep talking). "Well, I just wanted to call to let you know Isaac's going to be coming home with a red light today...he made some bad behavior choices while waiting to use the bathroom, and was running in the halls, raising his voice...we had a talk about it, but decided it was a good idea for him to have a red light today to talk about it at home with you and Dad." Some of you are reading this thinking, "That's it? He was running and being loud and cutting in line for the bathroom?" In Isaac's school, its a little different. Order, control, and even how loud the kids are become major issues in creating a healthy, safe, and encouraging environment for these kids who may not function in a regular classroom. Back to my story...
First, relief. Isaac's not physically harmed. Second, smiling. I could picture him running down the hall, yelling something along the lines of "I'M FREEEEEE!" while trying to zip up his jeans on dress down day. Third, a pang in my heart. It's never easy to hear that your child had to be reprimanded. I'm not embarrassed, though...never embarrassed. I learned long ago that although Isaac's my son, he is still his own person and responsible for his own actions--especially in school where he knows the rules. It's just my job to love and lead him through.
I text Dan with a few questions...how should we discuss this? He tries very hard to listen and obey and this is only his second red light of the school year...but, what should the discipline be?
Yes, I said the "d" word.
Discipline is something we use in our home. We use it because we love our sons. It's tailored specifically to each boy, because they are different and comprehend differently. We want to teach them, correct them, and love them all at once (and it IS possible, done in the correct way.) We want them to grow up with respect, and an understanding that every action has an effect. Good choices=good effects. Bad choices...well....
I hear the car pull up the drive, and watch as my friend/carpool partner leaves and Isaac comes through the back kitchen door. He knocks first (this has become his habit--he likes me to say, "who is it?") When he walks in, I pretend I'm oblivious. Simply mom, just unloading the dishwasher.
He is very still and very somber.
"Mommy...I didn't get a green light today...I didn't even get a yellow light...I got a RED LIGHT." He emphasizes the red light part. I simply stop what I'm doing, go to his side and kneel down to eye level.
"Isaac, everybody has red light days." I give him a huge hug. "I love you and I'm sorry you had a red light."
We talk about the behavior that he got in trouble for. He tells me he's ready to go to his friend's house for the playdate we planned. I make the difficult decision to cancel the playdate as the consequence to the red light. He is sad...mad...frustrated. I hold my ground. I try and hug him and he pushes me away.
This is the painful part of parenting.
After a few minutes, Isaac has forgiven and forgotten. He smiles as he plays with his cars. And I finally get that hug.
It might seem like an insignificant day, but for me, and for Isaac, it's moments like these that build trust between us, teach boundaries, and remind him that there are rules that he has to abide by.
The rule that never changes is my love for him. Even on red light days.