I’m the Mom I Used to Judge in the Store

10887413_971617046199642_4888119802829199023_o I am that mom.

The mom I judged before I was even a mom at all. The mom who made me think, Why are you out in public, sister? You need to take that crazy mess of a child home and feed them or put them down for a nap or something. The mom I knew must just ignore her kid or rarely dish out discipline.

Now I am that mom. I am the mom at the Home Goods store with a child screaming so piercingly that you turn your head and can’t help but mutter jeeze. I don’t blame you; his most intense screams still make me jolt. I am the mom not yelling at her child, not disciplining in this moment, not instantly gathering our mess of a family to run home. We’re past the point of all of that. I am the mom who gathers her screaming son, set off because I said he couldn’t have the saxophone toy. Sometimes I buy him something to prevent a moment that I don’t always have the strength to weather. We sit for a minute on the floor and I hold him so tight that my love penetrates through to some of his pain. We rock back and forth for a minute while I shoosh in his ear to calm him. It’s a Saturday and the crowd of people move so fast all I see are feet in a blur. There are so many moments in parenting that I have no idea what the hell I am doing. Moments that I wish someone could tell me the right thing to do. This moment is not one of them.

I was born to do this.

We sit and rock for a few seconds until the screaming falls in intensity. His face is purple and covered in tears and sweat. His hands shake in frustration and anger. He is certain if he doesn’t get this toy he simply won’t survive. I pick up his screaming, bucking body to carry him outside. He is getting so big and it’s getting harder to do. I gather us up while my husband goes up to the register to pay. We sit out front where the cool January breeze cuts through the sound of his screams. Toy! Toy!! TOOOOOOOOOYYYYYYYY!!!!!!! Greyson yells at me in a voice filled with rage and frustration. He gets louder, hoping it will make me understand. Not being able to really talk leaves you constantly feeling misunderstood. He’s sick and tired of feeling misunderstood. Sometimes having autism really sucks.

Some look over in alarm. But most look with the kind eyes of love and support. Some look with a sympathetic smile that says, “I’ve been there too.” However, my focus is on my son in my arms. He is beginning to calm. His sobbing transforms into exhausted shuddering.

It hits me. I am that mom.

I am that mom, and these are strangely some of the most sacred moments of parenting. When it isn’t easy, but it’s still so good. When God reveals himself to me through my boys. I think back to that mom that I judged from years ago, and I understand important things about life I didn’t know then. I’m grateful for the shift in perspective.

I am that mom, and I am so lucky.

This post originally appeared on Life With Greyson + Parker.

For all of January, The Mighty is asking its readers this question: If you could go back to the day you (or a loved one) got a diagnosis, what would you tell yourself? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please  include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio.

Want to end the stigma around disability? Like us on Facebook.

And sign up for what we hope will be your favorite thing to read at night.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Autism Spectrum Disorder

Why I Decided to Pay It Forward in the Autism Community

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” — Winston Churchill This week my nonprofit organization announced that we were giving out six scholarships for college to adults with autism. When I originally started reading the student applications last year to choose the winners I was [...]

This 8-Year-Old Has Cancer, But That’s Not What’s Most Remarkable About Him

Tyler West, 8, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia last year, according to the video below. He took a brief break from teasing his mom, snuggling with his sisters and playing Minecraft to tell us about it, cracking jokes and laughing throughout the entire 11-minute video. SoulPancake shared Tyler’s story as part of Unstoppable, a four-part series [...]

What It Feels Like to Watch My Son Have a Seizure

His eyes grow wide with terror as his body stiffens into a paralytic state, his mouth turning into a perplexed and focused frown. The epileptic beast overtakes him and sucks at his breath as his pulse races and his skin turns blotchy. Only a few seconds before, he was laughing and playing, enjoying the activity [...]

How I Learned to Always Trust My Instincts When It Comes to My Child

When the school psychologist kindly explained that my three year old daughter rated mild to moderate on the autism scale, I wasn’t even surprised. I went into my daughter’s evaluations pretty much knowing that something was going on with her. Still, I would be lying if I said I didn’t have a moment where I [...]