Saturday, February 14, 2015

Still Shaking...

I'm still shaking...

I'm holding back tears because I'm sitting in a public place and nobody likes to cry in front of people.

Here's how the morning was supposed to go.  I was going to drop Matthew off at Social Skills class and then take my car for an oil change.  I was going to go to the coffee shop two doors down and finish a blog post that I started last Saturday.

Yes, I dropped him off at Social Skills.  Yes I dropped off my car for an oil change.  And yes here I am at the coffee shop working on my blog...but I can't finish last week's blog post.  At least not right now. Because there is too much emotion running through my body and I know that I have to write about it or I will spontaneously combust!

Let's go back about twenty minutes.  I pulled up in front of Easter Seals and was planning on getting Matthew out on my side, because there was a bit of a snowbank on his side. As I got out of my car I saw another mom coming down the walk to go to her van. I smiled as she pulled on her hat and mittens because it is so cold today that you need them even for the short walk to your vehicle.  But that's not what Matthew saw.  Matthew saw this as an opportunity - an opportunity for an open car door.  I was coming around the back to help him out since he had already opened his door.  But once his brain saw that opportunity it was like an explosion and he was off.  He ran towards her van.  Another mom had pulled up on the other side of the drive and saw what was happening and hopped out of her car and ran to him.  Meanwhile, I awkwardly ran across the snowy part and when I got to him he had pulled open the van door.  He was happily scratching the inside of the door because of it's interesting texture.  He was not about to move even though I was grabbing his body with my whole body.  It's amazing how strong he can be when he is hyper-focused on something that he wants.  Finally, I said, "Don't you want to go to play class?"  He loves play class so he came with me then.

I know I probably should have gotten mad at him or given him a time out when we got inside, but I was just trying to keep it together.   I realize that it turned out okay, that he's safe, but my brain can't help wonder "What if?" What if the other mom hadn't run to him? What if the mom in the van had not seen him open the car door? What if she had started to take off as he approached or as he was opening the door?  I could keep going but I think you get the idea.  An annoying, yet familiar question ran through my head, "How am I going to keep him safe???"  

This is not the first running incident we have had with Matthew.  Some of my personal Facebook friends will remember when I wrote this note entitled Scary Stuff back in May:

I admit when it comes to Matthew I usually share the funny stories, the ones that make me smile. But tonight I have a scary story...I couldn't even write about it when it happened because it was too fresh. Matthew and I were at the park. He had just come down the slide and was standing there. I followed his gaze and saw that he was looking at a van with its door open as a mom was gathering her kids inside. I saw the look in his eyes...the one he gets right before he's going to run. I started to move, but he was a few steps from me and faster. Calling his name and yelling STOP didn't even make him flinch. By the time I had caught up to him, he had pushed his way past the woman, gotten into the van and was buckling himself into a car seat. I could overhear her say to him, "Honey, you're in the wrong van" and her children were giggling. But she was wrong...he was in the right van (in his mind). He wasn't confused, he didn't think it was OUR car...he wanted to go in THAT van. The mother said to me, "I didn't even see him until he was in the van. I tried to hold him back, but he is strong. I couldn't move him." Then she said to me, "Thank goodness I wasn't a kidnapper...they'd be driving away already." My heart which had previously dropped to my stomach was now somewhere down by my knees. 

My mother in law had a scary incident last summer too where she was walking with Matthew right on our block and he saw our neighbor's van.  He has ridden in this van and has a fascination with it.  I'm sure he got "that look" in his eye and when that happens nothing else matters.  He took off across the street.  I wasn't there, but when my mother-in-law tells about how there was a car just turning onto our street I can feel what she must have felt.  The adrenaline, the anger, the worry, the's a flood of emotions all at once.  

I know we won't be able to control every situation, but all we can do is control as much as we can.  We can't ever truly let our guard down.  A couple of years ago we had bought these special plastic covers that fit over the buckle so that Matthew couldn't unbuckle himself.  We had really bought them for longer car rides so that he wouldn't unbuckle when were on the freeway.  He was going through a phase where he thought it was "funny"to unbuckle himself.  I admit he seemed to outgrow that phase (thank goodness) so we haven't been using them.  I don't even know where they are anymore, but I think we should buy a new set of them and use them EVERY time he's in the car.  That way he can't get out of the car without us being ready...without us unbuckling him. breathing has returned to normal and my hands have stopped shaking (for the most part).  Thank you for being there and reading this.  By working through my feelings in writing, it helped me come up with the buckle idea.  Sometimes that's what it takes...