Things That Move Me

I took the kids on an epic pandemic spring break adventure today. We went to the mall. The one with the LEGO Store. 

Are you underwhelmed? It doesn’t hold a candle to swimming with stingrays in Grand Cayman, but it was a pretty big deal for us. 

It was the first time in over a year we stepped foot inside a mall. It was the first time in over a year my kids had Auntie Annie’s pretzel nuggets from a mall kiosk. It was the first time in over a year we went on an escalator. 

You guys. I haven’t been on an escalator in over a year. 

On our way up, my 14-year-old said, “Do you remember the time I broke the escalator?” 

Wait, what?

“Where were we?” I asked and answered immediately with way too much enthusiasm. “Oh, I know! We were at the mall! In Massachusetts! With Grandma and Grandpa! In the food court!”

I was flooded with escalator memories. The time we took new-to-walking Dylan to a hotel and he was so obsessed with the escalator in the lobby that we couldn’t go inside the building. The terrifying time when barely school-aged Dylan hopped on the “down” escalator in the science museum alone when I was chasing his baby brother near the “up” escalator. The endless times I drove my cranky boys to Dillard’s to go up and down the escalator indefinitely to pass the time until dinner/bath/bedtime. 

There have been countless reminders over the last year that our lives have been turned upside down. But the escalator at the mall today unraveled me. 

I miss my family and friends, bars and restaurants, movie theaters, and vacations. I even miss middle school band concerts! But what I truly long for is the most basic life experiences that spark memories and connect the dots of life. I didn’t realize it until today, but I miss the things that move me.

I wasn’t at all ready for the wave of feelings and memories that bubbled up on the escalator at the mall. Re-entry into a post-quarantine world is going to be intense. I’m mentally preparing myself now for the moving walkway at the airport.

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It’s Never Too Late To Put the Pumpkin Away

I did a thing today that I’m really proud of, and it’s not just that I finally put away the “happy fall” pumpkin that’s been hanging in my kitchen since last September. Today, I advocated for my son about something that happened last July. 

We had a negative experience over the summer with a doctor at our pediatrician’s office. She was energetic and enthusiastic, but she was a terrible listener. Her passion was palpable, but she didn’t know anything about our journey. She had a lot to say, but she wasn’t curious. She had a lot of answers, but she didn’t ask any questions. 

She had no idea she was talking to an eleven-year-old boy and his mom.

I failed to stop her in the moment, and I failed to protect my son (and myself) from her words. I was flustered, confused, and caught off guard. It happens. With doctors, it’s especially hard. They’re experts, after all. 

It took my son two months to open up about the trauma her words caused, and it took me another six to process my shame, guilt, and anger for letting it happen and to do something about it.

Today, I spoke to the head of our pediatric practice to share our experience so, hopefully, it won’t happen again. I advocated for my son so he can learn to advocate for himself, and I advocated for myself so I will always remember that as my child’s mother, I’m an expert, too.

Do I wish I’d acted sooner? Of course. But it’s never too late to put the pumpkin away.

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