Friday, April 26, 2013

Stalling In Applebees

Stalling In Applebees

My boys and I were like three peas in a pod, but were more like the three stooges on that cold, rainy afternoon when I decided to take them out to eat.  I pulled my dark gray Nissan Xterra into the Applebees parking lot and was happy to see there were few cars since Justin didn’t like crowds.

We sat in a booth at the back of the restaurant near the restrooms.  As soon as we were settled, Joshua informed me he had to go the bathroom.  “Me too. Me too.” Justin said.  “Well, he can go with me then.” Joshua responded.  Since Justin was twelve at the time, I couldn’t take him myself, but this could turn out to be a fiasco if I send him with Joshua.   I hesitantly moved and let him go with his brother. 
While I was giving our order to the waitress, Joshua came back to the table alone.  “Where’s Justin?”  I asked while glancing at the restroom door.   “He’s doing something besides peeing and I’m not going to help him.” Joshua said as he crossed his arms.  I rolled my eyes and thought, what do I do now.  “Is anyone else in there?”  I asked.  “No mom, only Justin.”  He replied.  “Why don’t you go help him and I’ll make sure no one else goes in?”  The waitress said as she took her place by the door. 

I pushed against the heavy wooden door and made my way into the dimly lit room.  The door closed behind me and I called out to Justin.  His voice echoed from the stall when he said, “Hey mommy.”  I approached the stall door and pulled on the silver handle only to find that Justin had latched it so I couldn’t get in.  “Let me in.”  I said while pulling on the handle again and began to feel frustrated when I heard him laugh at me. 

Next, I heard a rustling of fabric and the clinking of a belt buckle in the next stall; then the distinct sound of a zipper.  I prayed no one else was in there as I bent over to look under the stall doors.  I saw Justin’s shoes inside the first stall, then took a deep breath and fixed my eyes under the door of the second stall.  There they were; two shiny black dress shoes looking back at me.  I quickly got to my feet and began to sweat as my heart beat faster.  I felt my face turn red with embarrassment.
I gave the handle of Justin’s stall several quick tugs and knocked on the door.  “Justin.  Hurry up and let me in.”  I said with a stern voice.  “I can’t!  I doooooookey!”  He bellowed with laughter.  I heard no more noise from the next stall, but I still saw the black shoes staring at me from under the door.  I got a sniff of the horrible odor coming from Justin’s stall and wondered how the trapped man next to us kept from gagging.
I had to hurry up and get out of here I thought as I tugged the stall handle again.  “Open this door and I mean it.”  When Justin finally let me in, I gave him a “you’re in big trouble” look.  “I mull bad.”  He said with a grin on his face.   “You’re rotten.”  I said as I rolled off some tissue and handed it to him.  When he finished, I flushed the toilet as he buttoned his pants.

I opened the stall door and looked around as I rushed Justin to the sink.  Still no sound came from the other stall.  “Wash your hands.”  I said as I washed mine in the sink next to him.  Then we both very hurriedly dried our hands and left.

After we sat back down at the booth with Joshua, I finally took a deep breath and exhaled.  Thank God that was over.  Then I heard the restroom door open and there they were, the black shoes that had looked at me from under the stall.  I could not bring myself to look at the man that had come out. I don’t know who was more embarrassed me, or the poor man trapped in the Applebees restroom stall.  

Hoping one of my most embarrassing moments brought a smile to your face.
Angela :)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Moments To Remember

Moments To Remember
Justin ready for the prom.
We all remember our high school days and those special moments that go along with this time in our lives.  It was when we got our driver's license, had our first date, went to prom and graduation.  Then we go out into "the real world" and start a family sooner or later.  We then long for our children to have their special moments when they reach high school, but since Justin has special needs I never thought this would happen for him.

I have to say I was pleasantly surprised when the opportunity arose for Justin to attend his prom.  Yes, you read that right.  Justin went to his prom. I was so excited and nervous for him at the same time.  His teacher would chaperone, but being a mother I still worried.  Would he have fun?  Would he fit in?  Would this be a moment in his life he would fondly remember?  All I could do was say a prayer and hope for the best.

I remember my heart filling with pride as I helped him with his tux.  He wasn't the little boy I remember, but instead he was a young man.  To keep from crying I asked him what he was going to do at prom and couldn't help but giggle when he replied he was going to shake his booty.  After a quick stop at my parents' home, the family was off to celebrate Justin's special night.  We met several others at a mexican restaurant to have dinner and went to take pictures at the local college.  Then it was time for the big event and was shocked at how quick Justin jumped in the car with his teacher, leaving me behind. 

After he made it to the prom, the rest of the family went to do a little shopping, but I couldn't really concentrate on what items I needed as my mind was solely on Justin.  Then I received a call from his teacher as we were getting ready to leave.  Excitement welled up inside of me as she spoke of Justin being in the middle of a group of students dancing and having fun.

When we picked him up, I asked him if he had a good time and I will never forget him replying "it real awesome." and grinning from ear to ear.  What a wonderful moment for my son.  A moment that I never thought would happen.  A moment that he will always remember.  A moment that I will always remember. 

So I say to all the parents out there with special needs children, it's ok to have hopes and dreams for our children.  Many times with just a little effort and understanding, these dreams will in fact become some of the sweetest moments to remember.

Thanks for reading and sharing one of our moments,
Angela :)

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Accept The Things You Cannot Change

Accept The Things You Cannot Change

I spoke with a friend whose mother had recently passed away and could tell their heart was heavy and troubled even though they knew she was in Heaven.  She had been sick for such a long time and they were ashamed to admit it was almost a relief when she finally died.  They didn't want to feel that way and thought something was wrong with them because of it.  I tried to help them understand the relief they felt wasn't because their mother passed away, but because she was in no more pain. 

As I prayed for my friend that evening, I realized that there have
been times when I've felt something was wrong with me because of my feelings concerning Justin.  Even though I accept him just the way he is, there is always a part of me that would take away his disabilities if I could.   How can I talk about changing him and in the same breath say that I accept him? The answer is this;  just as it tore at my friend's heart to see their mother in pain, it tears at my heart to see Justin struggle on a daily basis. No one wants to see a loved one in pain or struggling in life and as much as we would like to "fix" it, sometimes we just can't.  It's not a punishment or curse and we don't always understand why it had to happen; we just have to trust in God.

So in closing I want to share the Serenity Prayer with you and hope you remember it the next time life gets difficult.  "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;  Courage to change the things I can; And wisdom to know the difference."

Hoping this evening finds you filled with the peace of knowing that God is with you.
Angela :)