I know this isn’t how the world operates, we all have special needs to a degree, whether we’re running late and need a shorter line or we can’t eat glucose and need specially prepared foods. Sometimes our needs are met and sometimes we have to suck it up and deal with it.
This is where the selfish part of me wants to throw a fit.
Last week, I took my 3 boys to buy halloween costumes after school. This was something the younger boys were eagerly anticipating and since it was friday and we had no homework, I thought I would surprise the boys and take them shopping.
Mistake #1. Never do surprises, even good ones can cause my oldest too much stress.
As the boys ran up and down the aisle picking out their favorite costumes, my oldest seemed to be enjoying himself. But after his brothers made their final choice, he started to stress about not being able to make a decision.
Mistake #2. Always plan ahead.
With my son not being able to commit to a costume, his stress started to climb. So I eagerly tried to show him options and encourage him with his creativity. At one point, I recommended him trying on the costume so he could see if it was too itchy, knowing that this would be a deal breaker.
Mistake #3. Never do things to stand out in a crowd.
My son liked the idea of trying it on, but there was no way he was going to do it in front of everyone. I could sense his stress increasing and his brothers were starting to lose their patience.
Mistake #4. Always shop with the boys alone, not as a group.
I could feel his anxiety increasing, so I tried to think creatively and came up with a brilliant idea (ok, maybe not brilliant, but at the time it felt like it). I told him that we’d take our costumes to the dressing room so he could place it over his clothes in a private area.
With some apprehension, he seemed willing to give that a shot. Hooray!
Well, my plan backfired. When we tried to get a dressing room with our costume the attendant said, “Sorry, you aren’t allowed to try costumes on in the dressing room.”
I looked at the woman with begging eyes, “Really? There’s no packaging on this item, it’s just hanging on a hanger, can’t he try it on for a second?”
With authority she responded, “No, it’s our policy.”
Instantly, my son was done with shopping. He wanted nothing to do with halloween costumes and just wanted to go home. I was very proud of him, he was doing everything possible to keep it together even though he was right on that line, but inside I was crushed. We were so close to getting his costume.
I remember thinking in my head... Are you kidding me! You have no idea how important this dressing room is to us right now. You have no idea what ramifications will come, the meltdown that’s waiting in the car. The hours of upset because his brothers have a costume today and he couldn’t get one.
I wanted to plead with the woman, to beg for an accommodation, maybe I would’ve, if it weren’t for the look in my son’s eyes that said he was done!
It’s little moments like these that I selfishly get upset with society. I know that I made plenty of mistakes on this shopping trip and I know that this is in no way the employee’s fault, it’s just a fact of life that the things that my son may need aren’t easily seen by society. Unlike those on crutches or a person with a sight dog, my son’s challenges are invisible.
I would be lying if I didn’t say that sometimes, I just wish I could hold up a special card that symbolized his unique need, allowing me to make the world easier for him. I wish I had the power to make shopping for a halloween costume a fun experience, I dream to give him back his childhood.