Friday, April 1, 2011

I Hope You Get This

Dear Costumer at Local Restaurant,

Where do I begin? How about a little background. My 3 boys, 19, 17, and 4 have Fragile X Syndrome. Never heard of it, huh? Well, I understand; we hadn't heard of it either until our oldest son got his diagnosis 16 years ago.
Yes, raising ANY child is challenging. I totally agree! Like you said, we all have our problems.
You see, I think the reason I so quickly got within inches of your face to explain our situation after you offered your "advice" is because it's been building up inside me for 16 years! Crazy, right? I also had to get kind of close because it was loud in there. How ironic that I say that, isn't it, because yeah, my son was greatly contributing to the volume in the there.
Let me try to explain. Our 4 year old son sometimes has trouble diverting from the routines he is used to. We had to wait for our table, and he was a bit confused by that. Just going into a restaurant is very difficult for him right now (the noise, the odors, the people, etc); having to wait for our table was more than he could handle tonight. Like I told you, he was adjusting. You probably noticed he was doing much better after we got a table. (I'm sure you noticed; we had such a great view of each other.)
Back to the "building up inside me for 16 years." You see, you're not the first person to offer "advice" that's been clear enough for me to hear.
You are the second.
Yep, 16 years, and you're only the second person that has given "advice" to our family. Have others said things over the years? I'm going to guess, yes, but they made the decision to give their "advice" under their breathe, or maybe they just kept it in their head, so that I couldn't hear it. I respect that, but would appreciate it even more if people could find more constructive things to do with their time than to judge the situations of others.
And, believe it or not, we've had people give us compliments about our kids.
I know, you're in awe.
That first piece of "advice" I overheard? I was in line at large store, the kids were approximately 5, 3, and 1 (we also have a daughter, she was the 5 year old). As we were going through the check-out, both of the boys were in the throws of a complete meltdown. How I even heard the "advice" the woman behind me in the check-out said to the other woman, I'll never know; my kids were so loud! I'm guessing she wanted me to hear it, so she said it in a manner that would put her voice over that of my boys. Her words have stuck with me all these years:
"I hope she doesn't have any more kids; she can't handle the ones she has!"
Yes, I remember it verbatim. And I think the reason for that is that back then, I was weak.
And I agreed with her.
Well, not least not always, but in that moment I did. So instead of saying anything to her, I brought my screaming kids to the van and cried along with them.
And to this day, I wish I could chat with that woman, face to face...
Ok, so tonight. Yes, he was loud. I agree. Yes, I needed to bring him "out those doors." I was planning on heading that way. Having to chat with you ending up delaying that happening.
Oh hey, guess what, Ms. Customer!?
It's Autism Awareness Month. Many children with Fragile X have autistic characteristics. Some have autism.
Consider yourself a little more aware about hidden disabilities now than you were before you walked into that restaurant.
You're Welcome!


fragilemom said...

Wow! I feel proud to be your fellow blogger!

Jen said...

:) Thank you. Not sure what came over me; I'm usually fairly reserved, lol.