Almira Gulch, the mean old woman in The Wizard of Oz, also known later in the film as The Wicked Witch crossed paths with me today.
After occupational and speech therapy today, we went to the mall to walk around a bit before going home. Therapy is forty miles away and because of the rain, we decided to walk off some energy before going home. As we walked around and went from store to store, Brock was a little overstimulated, but I am used to this and I realize others are not. We always talk about being respectful to others and always following the Golden Rule. Brock gets hung up on certain things and goes on and on, even to the point of driving me mad sometimes. He was ready to go at this point and was asking me over and over to go home, and I told him, to give me a few more minutes and we would be back at the other store.
We were at one store and the store we parked at was across the mall and processing all of this is pretty hard for him. He asked me over and over and an older woman (who I might add looked somewhat like Miss Gulch-seriously), said “STOP SASSING YOUR MOM!”.
I went into Mama Bear mode and said, “Excuse me, he has a disability, he is Autistic!” I owed her nothing, no explanation, but felt obligated to say this because after all, he does not know when to stop asking and when it gets on his mind, he will ask over and over. I officially had lost the battle of the wits with a nut! She went on to say her son was too (she was probably in her late 60′s), and I said to her, and what form of autism does he have? and she replied with NOTHING…. Obviously she was most likely not being truthful! I said my son has PDD look it up and we walked off.
He looks normal, so people don’t get how lucky they are to be able to comprehend and process language. Communication and processing thoughts, words, and surroundings is hard on him and takes effort that the rest of us could never imagine. She then said to me, you are making excuses for him and at this point, I thought I was going to grow horns, but I kept my cool. I wanted to say, as sweet as only Aunt Em did, “I would tell you what I think about you, if I wasn’t a Christian woman.” (loosely quoted).
I have spent all day explaining to my children that some people in this world are rude and miserable and although they exist with us, good really does over come evil. Although, as it breaks my heart to say this, Brock has been upset about it, but cannot process what I keep trying to say to him, but only can focus on her being ugly to us. He isn’t perfect, but has never been completely malicious as this total stranger was to us.
What irritates me is that this woman could care less about me or my child, so why on Earth, would she say anything to us?? Certainly not for our welfare, but because she is a mean wicked witch, she must need drama for the day, or she is obviously a cousin to Almira Gulch. If she only had a heart…..
Don’t surrender to meanness Mamas. Set a better example. I wish I would not have given this woman the time of day, after she said that. She wanted to be ugly, to have confrontation, and rightfully so, I became emotionally at war with this woman, out loud, in my head, with the how dare yous, and how could you be so mean. Unfortunately my children saw me unravel and lose my composure with this woman. I felt attacked and backed into a corner, but I should know better because you cannot argue with someone like that.
What Miss Almira doesn’t realize is my son will have to have the courage of the lion to make it in this world, to live with Autism and how others will interact with him. He will need lots of courage just to tackle Autism, as I do, too. Advocating for your child also takes the courage of the lion.
I did not cry, but left fuming, with my son asking me about strangers and rudeness. After that, each person we passed he very out loud vocalized saying, “Is she rude?” “Is she going away?” Is she a stranger, too, a mean one?” How mean that she has left a dent in our day like that. She really went out of her way to be unkind. I wonder how unkind she has been treated?
I sincerely try to be kind in stores, and in passing with others. When I worked outside of the home, I was a public servant and worked for our state government in placement with juveniles. I always treated the children and parents with respect, because you should, and a little kindness goes a long, long way. It doesn’t cost a thing to be nice to people. You really never know what is going on with people and the stresses they live with. What joy could being ugly to another bring?
In the end, as I said “Good” really does outweigh the “Bad”, no matter what. It is such a shame that this stranger went completely out of her way to cast judgement, when she had no idea what really was going on. I want to bring forth positive feelings in people and not negative ones. We all need to stop and think, sometimes things are not what they appear to be, and be a little nicer. There are so many children who look normal, but may have disabilities, disorders, life situations, etc. that cause them to be hyper, or have behavior problems, asking questions over and over, or acting out in public. Even if a child is acting out, it doesn’t give you the right to step in and be judge, jury, and executioner.
I hope that her troubles melt like lemon drops, and ours too. Somewhere over the rainbow, I hope that autism is defeated just as the wicked witch was. I hope that the Great and Powerful Oz would surely give Miss Meanie a heart, and help my son with communication and socialization.
Have you met an ugly, mean, Almira, too? How do you keep your cool?