When Rain Hurts by Mary Evelyn Greene

January 21, 2010

Peter, Lindy & Sophie (May 2008)

January 21, 2010.  Today is my turn to carpool Sophie and her friend to swim practice, which means Lindy is alone with Peter for the entire afternoon.  It’s a common enough scenario.  As soon as I return however, ushering Sophie and her wet hair into the house and out of the frigid air, Lindy confronts me with the news that she had to physically take Peter down, for the first time in years.  “I did it completely by the book, I swear.”  She is nervous that I’ll be upset with her.  As I study her imploring eyes, I can’t help but feel relieved that whatever episode caused so much angst happened on her watch, and not mine.  Lindy is a professional and though she loves Peter, really loves him, she can stay calm and emotionally neutral when necessary.  What’s evident now, however, is that this protective shield of neutrality has sloughed off.  She looks raw, exposed.  “I trust you completely,” I respond, clutching Sophie’s dripping swim bag to my chest.  “You know that.”  And she does.  But she’s shaken.   It’s no fun physically restraining a 63 pound child whose burgeoning strength, especially during acute adrenaline rushes, can nearly rival your own.  Lindy calls this “stupid strength”, meaning that it’s garnered in the heat of meltdown and fueled by rapid firing of bad choices, one after the other.  Pow.  Pow.  Pow.   I catch Peter watching behind the corner, a nervous, telltale grin creeping across his features as he struggles to divert his gaze.  Is he proud of his behavior?  Ashamed?  Probably a little of both.  He likes the attention, he feeds on the momentary thrill of power, but he also craves stability, trust, and above all else, control over his own precarious decisions.  I finish up with Lindy and rush to throw a quick meal together.  Today Lindy took the bullet, so I’m okay.  The rub is that Lindy’s not.



  1. Do you have an agency that provides support workers or did you hire Lindy yourselves? Either way, you are very fortunate to have the help. It is rare.

    Comment by Errin — February 28, 2010 @ 7:02 pm | Reply

  2. I found her by calling the local university and asking the chair of the special ed. dept. whether there was anyone she could recommend. Boy did we hit the jackpot! She’s now finished her master’s, teaches at well known residential autism school in the area and is in the process of getting ABA/VB certified. She’s also a love – we call her our oldest daughter – I literally don’t know what we’d do without her for a lot of reasons – but on the rare occasion we get to go out, she’s the only one who can handle our son (and not undo all our hard work to keep him in line).

    Comment by whenrainhurts — February 28, 2010 @ 7:09 pm | Reply

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