Corbin had narrowed his lunch choice down to pizza or macaroni and cheese.
Corbin turned to Brian to ask him what he thought about it.
Brian ignored the question. I tried to repeat it but it was obvious that the words were just not registering for Brian. Mainly because we were in the dreaded grocery store. You know the one. With all the smells, the flickering/humming lights, and people everywhere!
So I directed the boys to the frozen aisle and pulled out a package of Udi’s pizza crusts and Amy’s mac and cheese and asked Brian again, “Pizza or Mac and Cheese?”.
Brian’s face lit up and instantly pointed to the pizza crusts and yelled “PIZZA!”.
Then Brian’s face immediately fell as I put the crusts back into the freezer.
I tried to explain to him as much as I could that we had several packages of them already in our own freezer at home and I was on a budget and I didn’t want to buy products we already had. Yeah, like that lengthy one was going anywhere near his frontal lobe.
He seemed okay, a little whiny, but perked back up when I told him to grab a package of pepperonis to put on his pizza.
I thought the crisis was averted until we pulled into the checkout lane. All of a sudden a floodgate opened and Brian just started crying. Tears running down his face, screaming cries, and jumping up and down for me to hold him. I pick him up briefly and I see the older man ahead of me shake his head as he looks at Brian’s feet dangling down past my knees and my frame almost snapping backwards in the effort to pick him up. I look him directly in the eyes and his stare falters.
After a few minutes of holding Brian I have to put him down. He’s heavy in his own right but add the winter coat and the boots and he just becomes even more awkward to hold. As soon as his feet hit the floor he starts crying again and this time starts yelling, “Pizza!”.
If I hadn’t been next in line I would’ve run and got the crusts at this point but once again I stooped over and heaved his bulky frame up into my arms. Once again I see people looking.
Honestly, if I knew it wouldn’t send my child into even more of a meltdown I would’ve started screaming at the onlookers.
Really, all I wanted to say to them was, “Imagine struggling everyday to tell people around you what you want or need. Imagine it being a real challenge to get those neurons to talk to each other and finally succeeding in getting ONE word out that makes sense to those around you. Imagine then not having the auditory processing ability to always understand how the people you love respond to that word. Imagine feeling quite successful in the fact that you could say what you wanted for lunch and then thinking people around you didn’t understand. Imagine having the full IQ capability locked up in that beautiful brain of yours but not being able to access it at will. Imagine having language, that thing we all take for granted, taken away from you. Then tell me you wouldn’t feel like screaming.”
We finally made it out of the store thanks to Corbin. He loaded the conveyor belt, pushed the cart, and even ran the debit card. My nine year old son had more compassion in his pinky than most of the onlookers at the grocery store that day.
Once we got home I ran in, pulled the Udi’s crust out of the freezer, and handed it to Brian. And finally Brian smiled. He knew his request had been heard.