The thought ran through my mind: What if no one ever calls me back? Then what?
I had called several different doctors, and besides one doctor calling to tell me that he wasn’t accepting new patients, no one else had bothered to return my calls. Either these doctors were extremely busy or just incredibly rude. One or the other. Take your pick.
So I went back to square one, calling the Mental Health Hotline. I was starting to feel like I needed to be calling for myself as much as for my child. Luckily, I was able to get a new list of doctors to call and wouldn’t you know it, the first one I called actually called me back within a matter of minutes.
An appointment was scheduled for 2 weeks later. At first, it seemed like so far off, especially since we’d waited two weeks just to get the appointment. But this was a good thing. In those two weeks, I got something I desperately needed.
Every day I sit in the valet lane at school, waiting in the long line of parents to pick up their children. Most of the time I take a book or a magazine to pass my time, but this one day I just starred out the window…fretting.
That’s when I saw a young man, maybe junior high age, walking toward the school. He walked with a little bit of a limp and held his hand up against his chest like someone with Cerebral Palsy might. He walked a few slow steps in front of a woman in a nurse’s uniform, clearly his caretaker and not his mother (but really, what’s the difference.) As he stood to visit with a friendly neighbor in the valet line, he was all smiles as his head swayed back-n-forth, very Stevie Wonder-like.
I couldn’t stop looking at his smile. He had this big, beautiful smile. It quickly dawned on me that for all of the difficulties that this young man has faced and will most likely face in the future, he was clearly…happy. In fact, he looked a whole hell of a lot happier than I felt.
I thought about this young man for a moment. I didn’t know his story. I didn’t know his parents’ story. All I knew was that most likely, his story was a difficult one. It included a lot of struggles and challenges doctors and appointment and caretakers and special needs. Yet there he was, happy and…smiling.
Yes, I too had gotten some news about my child that I didn’t expect or like. News that my boy needed help. That he was experiencing struggles and challenges. And in the two weeks that I had to sit on the news, I had stewed and worried and wondered what the future would look like now that our direction had been slightly altered. But looking at this young man, it dawned on me:
I was overreacting.
What was I so worried about? Even with the new adventures that lay ahead, my child would never experience the same kinds of difficulties that my smiling Stevie Wonder friend would. My son will probably need some behavioral therapy and most likely some medication, but my son will go on to lead what we would all consider being a normal, successful life.
Perspective. Not something you’d expect to find in the valet lane at 3:00 on a Tuesday afternoon, and yet there it was. A nice tall, cold glass of perspective splashed right in my face.
And I couldn’t help but smile.