Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Walking in the Rain

It is time for the school system itself to re-evaluate my son, to determine his level of need for services. They want to get this done very early in the school year, since his IEP (Individualized Education Plan) is due soon. They mailed me some paperwork that his Pediatrician needs to fill out prior to the start of the school year. A few weeks ago, we also had a multi-disciplinary evaluation done at the Weisskopf Child Evaluation center. This evaluation is was done outside of the school system, at my request. They formally diagnosed my son with high functioning autism. As soon as I had the written report from Weisskopf, I stopped by the school and dropped off a copy. At the same time, I left a message asking if, in light of his new diagnosis, we would need to take different paperwork to the doctor.

That was two weeks ago, and I haven't heard anything back from them yet. Since school starts here August 15th, I need the papers for the doctor to sign pretty much now, which is why I stopped by his school on the way home today.

As I got out of my vehicle, I was wondering if I could get the papers I needed. I was thinking about whether or not I could get my son into the doctor's office before school starts. I was thinking about our upcoming IEP meeting. Will his new diagnosis help me get him the help he needs?

What I was NOT thinking was that I might have missed when I tossed my keys at my open purse. I did not notice they were on the floor board as the locked door swung shut.

Clueless, I went into the school, and soon found that they did not have the papers I needed. The only person who can answer my questions won't be back until tomorrow. I was told to give her a call then.

Already a little annoyed, I walked out to the car & realized my keys were locked inside. I called my husband. Unfortunately, it turns out he was 35 miles away, and unable to rescue me. Now, I COULD have made a call & paid someone to let me in my car. I COULD have done that, but I decided it would take less time to walk the two miles home, than it would probably take for them to come let me in my car anyway. I knew my husband would be home in a matter of hours & then he could let me back in the car. I decided I could use the exercise, and I'd save my $60.00 for something else. This plan sounded easy and reasonable to me at the time. The kids were at home with the babysitter, or I would not have even considered walking. My husband was not at all fond of the idea of me walking home, but I didn't let him talk me out of it.

As I started walking toward home, I thought to myself, "As humid as it is, I'm probably going to need a shower by the time I get home." A quarter mile into my walk, I felt a single drop of rain, then another. The sky was fairly blue and clear, but there were a couple of darker clouds above me, just my luck. "Hum." I thought, "I might not have to wait until I get home for that shower." In another few minutes, the skies darkened considerably, and it started to rain. I just looked up at the sky and said, "Seriously?!" half laughing at myself stubbornly walking in the rain. There was no one to blame but myself. I pushed my now completely unnecessary sunglasses onto the top of my head, using them to hold my dripping bangs out of my face. I was reminded of a recent conversation where I was attempting to explain the concept of unintended consequences to my son. I smiled, realizing this situation would have made a good example.

I could have gotten angry. I could have fumed, and stomped my feet all the way home. After all, who would have blamed me? But I chose not to. Instead, I thought about the feel of the warm rain on my skin, and took the time to notice the pleasant smell of the rain as it cooled the pavement.

These things reminded me of another summer day, many years ago when I was just one of several small children out playing in my front yard, in the rain. We made a huge mess of ourselves, and the lawn. We made a game of running and siding in the puddles in the yard. It was great fun. I remembered the feel of the warm mud between my toes, and the thrill of sliding in the muddy puddles. We literally had to be hosed off before we could go inside. I remembered what it felt like a lifetime ago, to be that young and carefree. 

I waved off a man in a black car who stopped to offer me a ride. Forgetting the fact that I had no idea who he was, I was already half way home, and too wet to care about a ride at that point. My tennis shoes were so wet that they began to make funny squishing sounds as I walked.

A few moments later, what had been a gentle rain was no longer so gentle, and the wind started to kick up. As I walked along a stretch of road with no sidewalk, the waist high weeds made walking in the grass impossible. The wind blew the grass onto my bare legs and arms, and it left grass seed every where it touched me. It was raining hard enough now that the seeds washed right off, and I had to laugh because I knew what a sight I was out walking in that weather.

A lady in an SUV stopped and ordered me into her vehicle. I told her, "No. I am already soaking wet, and almost home anyway. I wouldn't want to get your seat wet." She tried to insist, then seeing that wasn't going to work, she offered me her umbrella. I said, "No, really. I am so wet, it doesn't really matter now." I am sure she thought I was insane. She tossed the umbrella at me, and drove off. I picked up the umbrella, opened it, and continued walking. Several times the wind turned the umbrella inside out, and I laughed at the ridiculousness of using it when I was already soaked to the bone.

A few moments later, and there was lightning, quite a bit of lightning. I looked up toward the heavens and said, "Really?! ...Okay. Fine, but let's not electrocute me. Alright?" I was hoping the donated umbrella wouldn't make a good lightning rod. Despite a little fear of being struck, I noticed how beautiful the lightning was. I marveled at it's raw power, when even from that distance, I could feel the thunder it made vibrate in my lungs.

The ugliest part of the weather didn't last very long. As the wind and rain lightened up, I started to hear water rushing along the side of the road. In another minute, I was very surprised to find myself looking at a waterfall. It was running fast from all the rain. The sound was so soothing, and the view was so nice, I stopped to really look at it. I decided my walk had been worth it after all. Putting my phone at some risk, I pulled it out & took a couple of pictures.

These are the two pictures I took.

By the time I walked up my driveway, the rain had nearly stopped. My son took one look at me and said, "What happened?!" I said, "I took a walk in the rain." He accepted that explanation with no reservations. We laughed at the squishy sounds my tennis shoes made, and all was right in the world.

I am fond of saying, "When the only choice you have in a situation is the attitude you take about it, you need to make that one choice very carefully." I have faced enough major life altering events over which I had no control, that I can certainly put a little rain into it's proper perspective. After all, walking in the rain was nothing more than a minor inconvenience. I could have let it ruin my day, but instead I chose to notice the beauty along the way.

I have driven past that very spot hundreds of times. That waterfall has always been there, but I never had the slightest idea. Because I had never slowed down to look, I had always missed this very lovely thing just off the road, just out of sight. Seeing the waterfall was a reminder to me, that we will never see the silver lining if we don't bother to look for it.
To the special needs parents who read this, I would like to invite you to join my facebook support group for special needs parents:

"Loving a Miracle - Special Parents Supporting Each Other."
This is the original support group, and all content is open to the general public.

There is a closed group, for those of you who would like to post things outside of the view of the general public:
"Loving a Miracle - The Special Parent's Safe Zone."

There is also a public PAGE.  This is where I post information and links that I think are helpful to special needs parents.

Permission to repost/reprint: If you would like to obtain permission to repost or reprint this post, please send me an email to kristinablizzard@yahoo.com. Thank you.

- Kristina Smith Blizzard

1 comment:

  1. Well said, attitude makes a HUGE difference. Glad you had a moment to just enjoy living!