Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I yelled at a man today. Screamed at him, actually. In a hotel lobby. And 12 hours later, I still haven't gotten over it. The anger still courses through me. I'm not sure why I got so angry. I even apologized to the guy for my outburst 5 minutes later. Still, I don't think my anger was unjustified. When it comes to my emotions, I feel very insecure, inexperienced. Maybe most men do. It all started when my family was trying to check out of our hotel room after a weekend retreat for work. Families were invited and the boss was paying for the room on the company credit card. Somehow the lady behind the front desk was unwilling to charge the room to the company credit card. So while we were trying to resolve the matter, my son Parker, who is every bit the toddler of 2.5 years old, got bored and frustrated. He started screaming. Parker is and has always been a screamer. It's hard to be the parent of a screamer. The dirty looks you get from others. The "why can't you control your child" glares. And the way it makes you think, why can't I control my child? To be honest, I don't completely know why my son screams. I know part of it is because he is in the "terrible twos." But he screamed at younger ages, too, so that is not the full answer. Another element is he is a strong willed child, and his boredom led him to react in a strong willed way. Part of it is also a result of his disability. His therapists tell us that his Cerebral Palsy has left him with sensory deprivation. Screaming is a way to jolt his system when he needs it. But of course, people unfamiliar with Parker don't know this. Including the man I yelled at today. He, too, was waiting in the lobby. After about three loud screams from Parker, he had had enough and yelled at him. I immediately blew my top. I screamed at him...LOUD...in front of a lot of people in the hotel lobby. "Don't yell at my son," I hollered. "He has Cerebral Palsy and he screams because he can't control himself. So DON'T YELL AT MY SON." The guy remained silent, I think shocked at my outburst. Believe me, screaming and yelling is not my modus operandi. It's very rare that I would raise my voice like that to a complete stranger. But something snapped. I had to walk outside for a few minutes to calm down. I still need to calm down from it. My wife was glad I yelled at him. She says I need to work at not bottling up my emotions, instead letting them out. Even in crowded hotel lobbies. So why am I still so worked up about it? Why did I feel the need to apologize? And why does my son have to scream? All ongoing questions for another day, I suppose.

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