Yesterday, in our dash to get out of the house before school, I found myself chewing on a bottle of hairspray for the second time in one week. Did I enjoy it? No. Do I want to do it again? No. Will I do it again? Maybe. Why? Because I am a mom.

As most of you know, our younger daughter Rachel is severely autistic. One of the things we have learned about Rachel is that she can become fixated on an object. If the object of fixation is unavailable, life can become difficult for the entire family. Yes, through Relationship Development Intervention (RDI), we have learned that she must be lovingly weaned from these objects (or “lovies,” as we call them), but it will not happen instantly.

So, Rachel has a bottle of spray-on hair conditioner she carries around. Mind you, she hates to have her hair sprayed or brushed with anything, so I was shocked when she picked “Candace the Conditioner” (as our other daughter named her) as one of her lovies. Last weekend, Rachel insisted on taking Candace with her to gymnastics. Even though I handed Candace to her before we left, somehow “she” didn’t make it into the car (although I didn’t know it at the time). I was shocked when Rachel started screaming as we drove away. She kicked, babbled, cried, wiggled, and yelled. As she can say very few words, we had no idea what was the matter.

My other daughter and I searched the car while I drove down the highway. “Do we have blankie?” “Purple shirt?” (another of her lovies) “Is she thirsty?” “Hungry?” “Is she hurt?”  It wasn’t until we got home almost an hour later, thanks to a traffic jam, that I realized we had left Candace back at the gym. As there was no way I would face all that traffic again, I left her at home with Hubby and raced to the grocery store. The minute I pulled into the garage, I yanked out one of the bottles (I got two, thankfully) and pulled off the top to make it look just the way Candace had, which included chewing up the little straw on the top. … A mother’s got to do what a mother’s go to do. So, when Rachel opened the garage door, she found me chewing on Candace. Though her face looked a little confused, she was still happy to have Candace home.

A few days later, she misplaced Candace right when we had to leave for school. Thankfully, I’d bought the spare Candace, and “she” only needed a few good chews to make her look authentic. I hope my teeth stay in good shape. …

Let’s hear it for moms!