Today, I went to meet another mom at the park for a playdate. Yeah, shuttup. I don't do this. Like, ever. I don't have "typical" kids, so playdates with kids outside of family are a giant pain in the ass. Let me explain.
I have three kids. One (A) is really cautious/awkward and doesn't like climbing too high. The second (M) is fearless and will take off into the street without a peep. The third, D just hangs - and throws sand on herself. I'm that mom ... the one who looks like hell, running in circles and packing everyone up 30 minutes into the park? Yeah, I'm her.
Needless to say, all my "friends" are online. I used to have real life friends, but they kind of faded out when we all grew up and had kids ... & we got even more distant when I was freaking out about disabilities and therapies. I lost more than a few friends over the past six years - and the only women I talk to on a regular basis are family and the ladies from M's therapy sessions, called Buddies. I started to kind of fade into the wallpaper. It took me a few years, but I started to feel like a friggen Americanized version of Baba Yaga or something: alone, disfigured and living in the woods.No one got it. Except for people like my mom, my sisters and the ladies from Buddies. In case you have no idea who Baba Yaga is, here:
In reality, she's uglier and scarier ... and in some stories eats kids. I don't eat kids. I just have a lot of them. Well anywhooooo. In the midst of my Baba Yaga-ness, sitting on my butt watching my kiddos go nuts and my mom chase them and play ... I got a text from a Buddies Mom, Nicole. And thus began the death of my Baba Yaga...
"I'm thinking of going to the park on Azusa in a few hours with N, if you guys wanna join us?"
After a few texts back and forth, my mom is excited I have a mom-friend and we start packing up. An hour later, we are at another park, meeting Nicole and N. It's a big deal. See, she's like me. We're like her. We get it. One kid goes off, we're already on it. One kid is a little overwhelmed, we're on it. Meltdowns are normal, and its a much different feeling when they happen in front of other ASD moms. It's support and "weknowhowthisfeels" rather than disgust and "omfgcontrolyourkid." It was adorable. They played, they talked, they ... had a blast. Nicole and I sat on a blanket and ate elote (nommmy frigggen nom) and candy. And talked about Regional Center crap. The kids did ... well, this:
I'd like to say we caught a BUNCH of good pics, but I didn't. I was too busy being amazed by all the cool stuff they were doing together. Towards the end, they were all kinda "done." Funny thing about that word, done: it's a whole new meaning with us. Done used to just mean tired. But, for us? The kids' are usually "done" when the hands go over the ears, rocking or flapping starts ... or someone walks away to take a break. It's just done.
I had an amazing day. And it was pretty cool to sit there with another mom who just ... gets it. It was a really huge deal. Here we were all super excited they were interacting and co-playing. I am pretty sure we didn't take the time to notice the looks. We know we get them. It's our life. I can only imagine: "Why are those two ladies clapping like seals cuz the kid went on the slide?" No. We're clapping like seals because he ASKED the man blocking the slide to move, waited a few seconds THEN slid. "You're lucky he didn't widow-maker your skull while you decided to nap on the park slide, dude ... you're completely welcome." *smile*
I think we all have this mentality of "holyshitiamsofriggenalone" and we forget that we need meetings like this. Outside of therapy. Outside of IEPs and IPPs and RC and ... all those other annoying ass acronyms. I really think it's kind of strange that I have this total epiphany on World Autism Awareness Day ... six years into being a "special needs" mom. Sometimes ... we all just need to meet up and let it be.
Just as crazy moms & super cool kids...
Autism & special needs be damned.
A special thanks to Nicole, a great friend & mother of N (pictured above).
You and your baby made me realize a whole lot in this short park outing. You single-handedly killed that wretched old wench Baba Yaga part of me. Park dates, bring it on! This is soo cool. Empowering, even. We are a special breed, and you're right. There aren't a lot of women that could do what we do - day in and day out. I am blessed to know you all (other Buddies moms too) and I am so glad that we have met. It sounds cheesy as all hell, but we do have a bond that other moms' can never really relate to . Our kids are amazingly talented, super smart and graced with these hella good looks ... not to mention their personalities. It's not easy being their mamas! It really is nice to know we aren't alone in this insanity. Anytime girlie, anytime.