Sunday, July 21, 2019

Waiting Room

She's ready for him, and he'll go in alone this time.

The sessions are more productive when I'm not in there, so I'll sit in the waiting room with whatever book I threw into my bag before we left the house.  Sometimes, it's quiet.  I'm able to read, and the break from reality found in the pages of my book feels almost rejuvenating. 

Today, the waiting room is busy. 

There's a young mom with a boy much smaller than my son.  He's screaming, but I can't really tell if it's in joy or frustration.  Mom is able to distract him with the cup of crayons they keep on the small table.  He's lining them up one by one on an empty chair, and she's proclaiming the color names in a voice that sounds like a cross between a sports announcer and a Sergeant at Arms. Her eyes stay locked on her son, and I can tell she's searching his face and hoping for some mimicking.

He's silent.

And while I'm sure she's relieved he isn't "bothering" the other people in the room, I'm equally sure she'd give anything to hear even a garbled version of the word "blue."  Instead he starts making angry guttural sounds from the back of his throat.  The sounds get louder and louder, and she exhales audibly when it's time for them to go back and start their session. 

Directly across the room from me is another mom. She's got her head down, staring at the phone in her lap.  One of the therapists approaches her with a couple of sheets of paper. 

"I just wanted you to see these," the therapist says.  "This is a sample of his handwriting when we first started, and this is a sample he gave me just now." 

I watch her face fall, and avert my eyes back toward the book in my lap. 

Another mom enters the room carrying a baby who isn't walking yet.  The little girl babbles and I smile to myself and wonder what "she's in for." As if this place was a prison rather than a hub for all sorts of pediatric therapy offerings.

And while I hope my son is having a positive, beneficial experience when he's here... maybe it is a prison... for me. 

It's harder to escape my negative thoughts here.  I feel guilty when I think things like, "At least my kid isn't doing THAT angry growling thing."  I feel my anxiety skyrocket when I realize how my kid refuses to hold a crayon/marker and will likely have the same handwriting issues as the other patient here today.  I look at that baby and I beat myself up for not having my son evaluated sooner. 

These thoughts, these prison bars, close in on me.  And even though I know things could be SO MUCH WORSE... I wish I was anywhere but this freaking waiting room.

My son runs back into the room with his therapist. 

"We had a good session today, " she says with a smile.  "And he didn't hide under the table this time."

Now it's my turn to audibly exhale.