The blood is racing through my body to the point I think it is going to burst my veins. My hands grip the shopping cart handle as I whisk us away from the older man. I feel light, euphoric even. Surreal does not even begin to describe it. For once, I said the right thing at the right time.
Minutes ago my four-year-old raced ahead of me in the grocery aisle. She accidently bumped an older gentleman’s basket. He was not hurt at all. I caught up to her as she raised her arms to indicate for me to pick her up. I scoop her into the cart. The man that she bumped came up beside me and grumbled that those kids should not be contained but punished for what she did.
Without taking a breath I looked at him and said, “ Did someone teach you to be an asshole or does it come naturally?”
Walking away, I am stunned at what I said. For years since my youngest was diagnosed, I bit my tongue when ignorant comments or unsolicited advice would be dropped in front of me. I am not trying to be on a soapbox and make everyone be aware of autism and it’s many gifts and challenges. All I ask is that she be given the same respect as others expect her to give them.
I do not swear or call people bad names very often. I want to show my kids that mom does use her words. In this case, I do not regret standing up for my kid, who doesn’t know how do that for herself. Ironically, I did not see that man as we finish our shopping. I pack up the car and buckle her in. She gives me a big kiss and hug. Her direct eye contact is a new gift. Maybe she knew what happened just now and she is thanking me in her way. Never mess with a Mama Bear. In your face Autism.