We went to Target to look at camping supplies. Those that know me will be shocked by that last sentence because I am so not the outdoors camping type, but next weekend Grace and I are doing a one night Brownie Girl Scout campout. Thankfully we will be in a lodge and not tents to sleep, but we will cook and do everything else outside! (Not very excited about that. I am sure I will get a good BLOG out of this.)
Anyway I strayed.
We were in the store looking around when Jay said he had to go to the bathroom. This is our usual store and he knows where the bathroom is. He said he would go by himself. He really wanted to go by himself and well… I was in the middle of comparing sleeping bags and just said okay without even thinking about it. I told him where I would be. He skipped off all happy and I continued to shop.
Five minutes later I see Jay across the store, too far for me to get his attention. I see he is very distressed. He could not find me. I start to dart across the store towards him but stop short when I see my boy approach a Target employee. Before I can reach him or even be close enough for him to hear me, the man is leading my boy over to Customer Service where they announce over the loudspeaker, “Could Mrs. Fuentes please come retrieve her son from Customer Service. Mrs. Fuentes your son is at Customer Service. ” I cannot begin to tell you how hearing an announcement like that makes you feel. I felt like the worse mom in the world. I also felt like jumping for joy. My son was lost and he held it together enough to figure out what to do. He walked over to an employee and asked them to page his mother. THIS WAS HUGE!!! I was so proud.
Finally I reached Jay. He was fine until he saw me… then he started to cry. “I came out of the bathroom and I went to where I thought you were suppose to be and I didn’t see you mom. I thought you left me mom!” My poor boy. I grabbed him close and hugged him and told him how proud I was of him for knowing what to do. I told him how I would never ever leave the store without him! I had tears in my eyes too. I honestly don’t know how I managed to hold together!
I know to many people they probably are thinking what is the big deal. The kid is 10 years old after all. But this was huge. I think the part that made me even more upset was that it made me realize just how lucky I am. Yes lucky! You see my boy is verbal. My boy was able to communicate to someone what he needed. This is HUGE! There are so many children, and grownups for that matter, who have autism and cannot do this. I cannot even image what there parents must feel.
So now you understand why I felt compelled to tell this story of victory and hope right away. I now it sounds strange to think that a story about my son getting lost as hopeful and as a victory… but for us it was! It makes me realize that the social stories we do are clicking. When he was faced with a situation, he remembered what to do, and he acted in the proper way. I cannot think of a greater victory than that.