Dear Stranger in the Children's Tent,
Last week we both had the brilliant idea of bringing our children to the Lobster Festival. What we were thinking is beyond me. I noticed that you ended up in the Children's Tent like we did, as well as about thirty other kids. It was mayhem in there, if you ask me.
And why places haven't given up on having public train tables are beyond me. They are, honestly, the bane of my existence. I'm sure you don't have those struggles. The struggles of having a child with Autism and OCD anywhere near a train table that could be touched by other little fingers.
However, I was proud of Brian as I watched him flit from one end of the tent to the other, not knocking over any toddlers, taking turns with the racetrack with two other boys, and not ripping trains out of anyone's hands. I was thinking that maybe this would finally be a successful outing.
Until he did rip a train out of your preschooler's hands. I hope you noticed that I immediately engaged in the situation and made my son hand the trains back to your child (yes, I had to pry them from his death grip to do so, but we did it). I'm not sure if you noticed, as you instantly turned your back on us, that I had to sit with him folded up in my arms and legs as he screamed and thrashed. I'm guessing you thought that he was just being a brat. That wasn't the case at all.
He had left the trains on the track because that's where trains belong. When he saw your daughter placing them on the grass, that was very hard for him to bear. He has autism. He has OCD. One could argue they go hand-in-hand, however I remember Brian's autism before he was so strict in his routines so I have to argue that his OCD now classifies as it's own entity. He is physically hurting when he can not set things right or finish a routine. Spend thirty seconds with him during one of these moments and you can feel the pain yourself.
It's not a fun thing to hold your eight-year-old child in the middle of a children's tent screaming his head off. It's a scary thing that I could barely hold him and the truth is setting in that when he is that angry he is becoming stronger than me already. It's a sad thing to be in a sea of fifty people and have not a single person show compassion.
However, this letter isn't about that. It's about the fact that I calmed my child down. We stood up to leave the tent when he looked over and saw your daughter had placed the engine and two cars back on the grass of the table. Your daughter was on the other side of the table looking at the tracks you were putting together. Brian reached for the train and I let him BECAUSE YOUR DAUGHTER WAS NOT HOLDING IT ANYMORE.
You looked over and said loudly, "He took your train again!". Your daughter hadn't even noticed or cared. You then repeatedly said that line several more times, never looking me in the eye or asking me. I know because I stood there drilling a hole in the top of your head with my eyes. How dare you try to cause another scene? Try to cause pain for my child again? Try to cause pain for me as well? Because do you know that a piece of my heart breaks every time I feel that hurt inside my child? I let my child put the trains back on the track and move them around it several times until he looked up at me with a smile. I asked him if he was ready and he stood up and held my hand and skipped out of the children's tent.
I'm so glad you didn't try to get my son to give back those trains because I really don't need a restraining order placed on me at this time. It wouldn't look good for me professionally.
Thanks again for your utmost understanding and compassion. It gives me so much hope for humanity.
-Brian's Mama and Defender