Back in early summer I began a new journey which I talked about here. Well, since June 25th, with the help of Weight Watchers, I’ve managed to shed 22.2 pounds. Yeah, hold your applause. I’m not done.
Deja vu, I’ve been on this road before. I go. I lose. I stay a while and then I think – oh, ok, I’m done. I can do this on my own. Slowly, I take a bite of this, or a sample of that, and before I know it, I’m lost.
I need to look someone in the eye, each and every week. Someone who will read that number on the scale with me and hold me accountable. Someone who will not brush the fat under the rug with me.
I’ve learned something this time around that I did not listen to before. Something that, I’m sure was said, but I never chose to hear. When they tell you, it’s a lifestyle change, hey, guess what? They mean you need to commit yourself- for life.
I have to go in the building. I have to be weighed. I have to stay and listen to my amazing WW leader, Teresa, who inspires me to continue. If I don’t, I’ll falter.
So, knowing all this, I pack up the kid and his iPad and go each and every Saturday to “the meeting.” I do not do this with delight. I dread this. Why? Because, despite how much I love and understand my son, he is still a 5 year old boy who must remain relatively still for the 30-40 minute meeting in which he has no interest, once a week.
Now, here’s the deal. Other moms bring their kids. Why is it that I attend the meeting with all the other “perfect” kids? Seriously. There is one little girl who actually speaks during the meeting. She is articulate and cute. She’s polite. And she’s quiet. I’ve seen a little boy there too. I barely noticed him because – yes, you guessed it – he’s quiet too.
My kid? He’s got the volume on the iPad turned low. He’s engaged in self-talk throughout the meeting related to whatever game he is playing. He stands up. He sits down. He lets out little “whoops” when he gets excited about his game. He’s sneaky and slowly inches up the volume on the iPad until I have to turn it back down. I’m constantly shushing him and threatening to take away the iPad.
In order to make myself as invisible as is humanly possible under these rather humorous-if-you-really-think-about-it moments, I walk in to the meeting slightly late (I have to minimize his time there so he can actually sit through it.) I always pull out a couple of chairs and make myself a new back row so I can be as far back as possible hoping for less disturbance to the rest of the group. I sneak up to the front desk where someone nice will weigh me while I am close to the little monkey so I can be within intervening distance, if necessary.
I do all these things so I can have a chance of keeping myself healthy for my son, and minimize impact to others in the room.
Inevitably, I miss part of the dialogue in the meeting but I do my best to keep up. The meetings are all about participation. My problem? If I participate, the kid is going to perk up and perhaps, engage in some participation of his own. I don’t need that.
I do not have child care for these meetings. Don’t try to talk me into going at another time, when the kid is in school because I’m working (and I get little enough time to do that). The hubs cannot watch the little guy because he’s always working. If I went on a Sunday instead of Saturday, I’d have a different leader and there is no way I’m giving up my leader. She is too good, has known me since before my son was born, and she’s awesome.
To me? The little guy’s eccentricities in the meeting do not bother me and I don’t think they bother most of the people who attend. There are always a few though, who just don’t get it. And I don’t expect them to get it. They don’t know me. They don’t know my son. They don’t know my son has autism or what that means or why he must be with me during their meetings.
And, that means I get the evil eye. Today, especially, I had my space invaded. A woman I’d never seen before decided to sit next to me with the little guy on my other side. She went so far as to look around me and at my son as though, by doing so I would engage her and apologize or look at her so she could tell me to keep him quiet. Instead, I ignored her.
I just have to learn to ignore the looks. I know that some people will consider my presence a disruption. Overall though, it’s an accepting place or I could not have kept it up and lost this much weight.
It’s all a matter of priority. I love my son. I have to stay healthy for him. I have to bring him to meetings. People will stare. I will suck it up and stay. End of story.