Every January I dread going back to Toys R Us. Christmas is over and we have half of their inventory thrown all over our living room floor. So, why am I back in this store? My son's birthday is in January. I have always felt bad for friends whose birthdays fall in December or January. Back to back gifts and celebrations. Anyway, I get behind a blue cart and start pushing my way through the crowds.
What would he like for his birthday, I ask myself. He did say he wanted Santa to bring him a shark but it was so expensive Santa really didn't want to get it for him. Maybe he'd forget. I went to look for it anyway. Ahh, there is was. One lonely box with a shark inside of it. Still not sure, I put it in the cart anyway and keep looking around. That's when I saw a boy, approximately same age as my son with his Dad. He was by the K'nex and Legos. Jumping up and down. Very excited. Didn't hear one word come out of his mouth only noises. I recognized the symptoms. The silent communication with his father. I got it. I understood. How many others in that store didn't get it.
I left that aisle and went clear across the store in search of some Angry Birds. The selection was poor but I did see that boy again. He was looking at the super heroes now. I was watching what he was picking out and my son loves the same things. What would happen to these children say, 50 years ago when not much was known about autism? There was no awareness. There was no 'social networking'. What type of therapies does he go to? How does his school treat him? So many questions pop into my head. There was no time to start a conversation with his Dad; I had to make a decision.
Back to the shark that is in my blue cart....do I get it or don't. My son doesn't ask for anything, except for food. It is a bit extreme but I decide to get it for him.
Now I am in this incredibly long checkout line. Why do they only have 1 person working on check out? This makes no sense. I know he would be having a hard time standing. He's be jumping around, walking away and grabbing all the extra goodies and trying to throw them into the cart. We are still working on being patient. I look up and see a much older boy now walking in with an older woman. Perhaps mother and son. He is toe walking and flapping his hands wildly and has a huge smile on his face. Why not? He's going into a giant toy store.
As I look around I see more children with autism and parents who are not embarrassed or afraid to take their children out into the world. It makes me feel good that there is more awareness. I smile as I walk out of the store with shark in hand.