I was new to Ethan's world; I had just been given his full diagnosis which meant I was numb to a lot of what was said to me, said about me and said about Ethan, I was not skilled at dealing with the public and Ethan.
We rode into town on a red bus without incident.
We were going into town to collect J from school.
Ethan was in good spirits while I was still hazy, trying to understand terms like 'sensory processing disorder', 'Autistic tendencies', 'ADHD', ' Global developmental delay', 'Hearing impaired', and the big one, 'Hunter syndrome' which I was discovering was the reason Ethan had all these other issues too.
We walked quickly to J's school, Ethan happily holding my hand asking me for "weets" (sweets).
I had promised him 'weets as soon as we collected J.
I handed them each a packet of sweets.
They began to eat them as the bus shelter quickly filled with people.
When the weather is that bad, the buses are always late.
I sighed as a woman pushed against Ethan.
I gently pulled both boys closer to me; as adults continued to push into the bus shelter.
We were now up against the plastic back of the shelter, but we were dry.
I prayed my answer wouldn't lead to a meltdown.
"Few minutes" I rubbed his hair.
A woman leaned into me, to tell me my son had dropped his wrapper.
I had no intention of picking it up; as the rubbing of Ethan's head seemed to be keeping him calm.
She repeated herself.
I looked at her and smiled, "I'll get it in a minute".
Our bus finally arrived, I guided Ethan; as J happily jumped on the bus and ran off down the back.
He held both his hands against the sides of the stair so I could not move him.
"NOOOOO" he roared again, as the people behind me began to push me from behind.
It was torrential rain by now, and nobody wanted to be out of the bus shelter getting wet waiting for a kid to get on the bus.
I apologised to the bus driver and tried to physically move Ethan.
He roared, kicked and spat at me for even trying.
I felt beads of sweat running down my (no doubt) scarlet face.
I began to panic.
I had no idea what to do.
Again I tried to reason with him.
"RED" he screamed over and over.
"Spoilt" I heard a voice behind me yell, while another roared, "get him off the bus, you can't hold us all up. We are getting wet !" others were commenting, "Little brat" and so on.
I was trying to focus on Ethan and how to help him when the bus driver opened his driver's door.
He winked at me as I saw his eyes fill with pity (maybe it was empathy) for me.
"Buddy, buddy..." he held his hand out to Ethan.
"Look!" he exclaimed so loudly that J came running back down the bus to see what the driver was showing his big brother.
Ethan followed the bus driver's gaze, Ethan smiled.
"You want to press the bell buddy?" he smiled as he offered his hand again to Ethan.
Ethan nodded and took his hand.
Ethan pressed the bell as every passenger got on and off the bus.
He was happily screaming "Bye -bye" and "Hello" as people passed by him.
I spent my journey looking out the window, fidgeting with my hands trying my best not to cry.
We got off at our stop, Ethan shook the driver's hand while I thanked him for his kindness and patience.
He nodded at me and told me red buses only run once a day, the other ones run more often and there are many more of them, he handed me a timetable and apologised for 'his' public; which did make me giggle.
I never did pick up that sweet wrapper...
Have you received a grant to purchase equipment for your child?