Mother Versus Wet Towel

May 15, 2019

It was supposed to be a happy event.  Going to the airport to meet mother who was coming home after 9 days in France.  In the past, Robert made many trips to the airport and he was always calm and relatively happy. Jan didn’t predict any problems.

So, after Robert finished his swimming lesson, he and his father drove to the airport. But as soon as Jan turned north instead of south on 95 interstate highway, Robert began protesting, “Home, home, home.” No, he didn’t want to go to the airport, he wanted to go home.  He needed to go home. He couldn’t go to the airport.  Not with wet towel, soaking swimming pants, and damp swimming cap. Those things should not travel to the airport.  They should be brought home.  “Home, home, home”, Robert tried to persuade his father.  Since, he didn’t have proper words, he replaced them with dramatic screams of protest. The most efficient way tfor Robert o express his uttermost anxiety was to keep slapping quickly his cheeks and scratching his nose with fast movements of his fingers. Yes, of course! Robert loves his mother and he missed her too, but the personal feeling are nothing when compared with the broken order of things. If the simple rules governing Robert’s world are broken then the universe might collapse.  Robert didn’t want that to happen so he kept screaming and pulling Jan toward the car. “Home, home.”  To avoid continuing display of robert’s determination, Jan  decided to wait in the car as I was snailing through the airport security.  And thus they waited.  Jan patiently repeating that they wait, that she would arrive soon, that they will all go home and bring home the towel as well.

When he finally saw me, Robert calmed down instantly. Maybe because he was happy to see me at last.  Or maybe because now, nothing would prevent the towel from reaching home.

In the past, many times we experienced similar issues.  When directly after horseback lesson, Robert and his father drove to the beach, Robert protested vehemently. “Home, home, home”  he kept demanding all the way to the beach.  “Home, home, home”  he insisted while walking along the beach. “Home, home, home” he kept perseverating in his favorite restaurant. Similar thing happened when after kayaking lesson, he, his sister, and his dad went camping instead of returning home first. To address those issues we kept giving Robert prior notices of expected changes in familiar routines. And when I say “notice” I mean repeating the same thing many times, writing a schedule and reading it.  As a result, Robert is now content when we go to the beach immediately after riding lesson.

I don’t doubt that Robert loves me and wanted me to be home.  Just like I know that Robert loves Horseneck Beach and Bay Restaurant. But when order of things that Robert  rigidly established for himself is being undermined, he protests in  despair.

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