In the past few days I’ve heard a particular question, one laced with hope and suspense, more than a time or two, and it generally goes something like this, “So… how did Luke do on the plane ride to Tennessee?” I thought I’d just share here, on my blog, so that everyone can participate in all of the heartwarming details that surrounded that day.
It all started on a hot and humid day, July the 20th, the day that Luke and I were set to depart from the only state we’ve ever called home to embark on a journey to Tennessee where we would hopefully live out our days in peace, tranquility, and happiness. Dad and the boys had left a few days earlier and were busy setting up camp at the new house while a family friend kept the youngest four over night because their beds had already been packed, planning to drive them down early on the 20th as well. With the majority of my family gone, I was surprised at how well Luke adjusted to the silence and also the air up bed he was given as a replacement for his 6 foot tall, padded walls, full size bed that Dad had to disassemble and pack. The only issue he really had with the new bed was that it had been placed on the left side of his room and at some point during the night he decided to move it to the right side of the room.
Other than that, a few days without his bed, his family, or any of his belongings didn’t seem to affect him at all until…
This is when something changed in Luke’s little brain, and he decided, for whatever reason under the sun, that he was done with the amount of change occurring in his life and voiced this displeasure through incessant, ear piercing, screams. Screaming about the food I fed him, the videos I played for him, and screaming about any attempt to entertain him in any sort of manner. Needless to say, he was not enjoying his existence and neither was I (enjoying his nor my own existence at this point). Many sighs of exasperation later, I decided that instead of spending valuable time packing, plastering, painting, and pulling nails, I would instead load Luke into the car and take him on a ride, a change of scenery sort of idea, and we would, in the process, stop at the hardware store to pick up a few items. This was a good idea for the 20 minute drive to the store while Luke sat quietly, looking out his window and singing along to the songs on the radio. HOWEVER, when we arrived, I sat in the parking lot of this store and contemplated my options, for about 10 minutes, as to whether or not it would be a wise decision to actually bring him INTO the store where there would be real, live people; nosy people staring at this child who has absolutely no inhibitions whatsoever and after being his mother for 8 years, I have very few inhibitions or pride left as well, so the two of us combined in this store together could be trouble. My carnal reasoning went something like this, “He is eight, I would leave Mya in the car alone to run into the store, but he does have the mental capacity of an infant, but I could lock the doors, but then what if for some reason I can’t get back in and then he’s locked in the car and there aren’t any videos, just the radio, but if I bring him into the store it could be a nightmare, and how am I going to put him in the cart? I forgot his wheelchair, hmmmm” and then an elderly couple pulled up right beside me in a polished, tan Oldsmobile, both smiling in a sweet elderly way as they noticed my special boy sitting in the back seat, and then I immediately, in my thoughts, recalled stories of people calling social services on mothers in Walmart parking lots who left their offspring in the car.
“Come on Luke, we’re going into the store.”
This is an extremely flexible, skinny, little boy, but it was quite the maneuvering job trying to get his legs into those shopping cart holes. Jamming, coaxing, and coercing, I finally managed, and we walked towards the entrance, ignoring confused looks of, “Isn’t that boy a bit old to be sitting in that cart?” and me singing, very quietly under my breath, one of his favorite songs, “Jesus love me, this I know” as I walked through the sliding doors which beckoned my entrance with a bold welcome sign, I frantically did a 180 head turn around the store, glancing up and down, left and right for something pointing me in the direction of the paint section, heart rate rising with every moment, hands getting balmy, and sweat forming along my hairline, bracing for what I knew was coming, very, very soon, a vocal, very repetitive, very intense hollering of “ALL DONE! ALL DONE! ALL DONE!” Luke, in general, has a very low tolerance for anything resembling patience.
I didn’t have to wait long. Those three little words that hold so much power over my involuntary inner being came as soon as I spied the paint samples. I raced over, glanced at every single one of those 500 plus little colorful cards, and faster than anyone in the history of paint sample selection process has ever done, I grabbed every single tan color I saw, reasoning that I’d sort it out in the privacy of my home. As Luke’s hollers grew more and more intense, out of the corner of my eye I noticed an employee helping someone else, which I promptly ignored and frantically formulated the words “Could you please tell me where spackle is?” She pointed in the general direction as I hissed under my breath, “Luke we’re not all done, QUIT, Quit, Luke stop that, we’re not all done yet, “Jesus love me this I know…”
“ALL DONE!! ALL DONE!! ALL DONE!!”
I grabbed the spackle, raced to the checkout counter, stood tense, eyes darting back and forth in line while trying a new song, “This old man, he played something… I don’t know what he played…..” Aghhhhh, you don’t like this old man Luke? You always like that song,
“ALL DONE!! ALL DONE!! ”
“This little light of mine, oh my word, this is so stressful and I’m sure not letting it shine….” I sang quietly under my breath.
Ma’am, Can I help you?
HALLELUJAH! “Swing low, sweet chariot coming forth to carry me home!” As I realized that the cashier was speaking to ME and that meant I was almost free from the confines of the store, the shackles of any pride I formerly possessed slowly disintegrating as I eyed the exit door with intense anticipation.
“ALL DONE!, ALL DONE!!, ALL DONE!!!”
YES!! Luke darling, we ARE almost all done, big fake smile plastered across my lips as I pretended in that moment to absolutely adore spending time with my son in the hardware store.
I smacked the can of spackle on the counter, frantically counting out 7 dollars and 57 cents, shoved it in the clerk’s hands, and proceeded to walk, very, very quickly out of the store as the ALL DONES!!! continued to increase in volume, intensity, and speed. Once outside, I felt like a prisoner, freed after years of being pent up in a prison cell, feeling the warmth of the world gently touching my face for the first time as I finally breathed a sigh of relief, my blood pressure levels started to slowly subside and my breath returning to normal paces.
“Ma’am, MA’AM!!, MA’AM!!!
I rapidly turned, half expecting the police’s arrival to take us away for disturbing the peace.
“Ma’am, you forgot your purchase.”
Yes, that is how frazzled I was.
Thank you I muttered, taking hold of the brown paper sack holding the precious spackle purchased with not only money but also with a voluntary offering of my sanity as I surrendered to the absurdity of the moment, trying to hide the red creeping up my neck line, slowly inching its way towards my cheek bones.
To be continued….