An Unfortunate Receptacle
Weekly Update - October 21, 2022
This past weekend we went on the church retreat at Blowing Rock. Kind of.
When Justin woke up on Friday he had a dry cough. It sounded like a flareup of his asthma, so we gave him a treatment before leaving town for the mountains. All seemed well. He was congested, but he is also 6 and goes to 1st grade. He always has a little snot going I think.
We enjoyed some mountain fun, and there was even a bonfire and s'mores. We went downtown and played (Blowing Rock has the most magnificent playground). We bought candles and fudge and ice cream. We had dinner with our church family in the main dining area.
And Justin's cough got a little more pronounced and a little wetter. Saturday morning was even worse. We did another treatment and started talking about the possibility of leaving early if Justin didn't improve.
When we went to lunch Saturday, it was obvious he wasn't feeling well. I thought that part of it might be that he hadn't eaten. I was with him in line when he uttered the words no parent wants to hear.
"Dad. I'm gonna throw up."
A couple of things go through my mind when Justin says something like this.
The first is that he is almost assuredly NOT bluffing. Autism manifests itself in a lot of ways with Justin, but one of the primary ones is that Justin is seemingly incapable of lying. We have actually had to explain what a lie is. He just doesn't get the concept. He will be completely honest with you, even if it hurts your feelings. He is not trying to be mean or anything. He is just telling you what he sees. So if he says he is gonna throw up, that is happening for real.
The second thought I have is... oh shit. I don't have anything to catch this with. There are salad bowls at the end of this buffet line, but we aren't making it down there. Fuck.
Wait. It's okay. I have a bowl. It's called my hands.
And that's how I caught Justin's regurgitated breakfast (apple sauce - yum!) with my bare hands last weekend.
It wasn't fun or pleasant or peaceful. It was chaotic and more than a little unsettling.
I caught the puke anyway.
Because that is what parents do. And that is what parenting is sometimes. It's not all recitals and graduations and games. It's not all family dinners and quiet conversations and family game night.
Sometimes parenting means looking around, sizing up your options, and then just opening your hands to catch whatever is coming your way.
At least I also got Justin's artistic rendering of what happened, complete with heart outline.
Ultimately, that is what parenting is about. Yeah. Sometimes you are gonna catch this morning's applesauce. But in the end what matters is that the person you did that for - even when they are 6 and autistic - will see and feel only an act of love and sacrifice to support them.
And that is beautiful.
For the record, though, hands are not a great place for applesauce. Before or after consumption.