It’s been a while! How have you been? Tired, I bet! It’s been like 10 years. What is Bob now, 15…16… I always lose track of time. I bet he has grown. I’m pretty sure you are so proud of him! I just wanted to drop you a line to remind you of a couple of things…..things I hope you did on this journey. You know the one, the one that’s called life.
I hope you took time outside of therapy to enjoy him…. You know childhood is short. I know you want the best for him. But, I really hope you took time to enjoy him….to watch him grow….from kinder to high school seems like forever but it’s over in a blink of an eye. Seriously, I hope you didn’t blink. Because, if you did..you missed it. You missed some awesome things……I hope you didn’t.
I hope you took some time for yourself. I know his schedule is hectic and you are busy….truly I get it….but I hope you did. I hope you remembered before this little person..you were a person too…with wants and needs…and hopes and dreams outside of your precious angel. You see, it was important for you to do this. Not only important for you…but for him…. He needed you at your best…I hope you didn’t disappoint…. It was so important that you be on your A game…..really important…..
With all the ups and downs, I hope you really understood what this was all about. In the grand scheme of things…..everything is the same….we are all on our own journey….Autism or not….we are all stumbling through life…. It’s not always on your shoulders…….. You can’t always fix everything….. And that’s ok….it truly is ok…..
Life will continue moving on, regardless of the outcome or the circumstances…..it just does…..Thank God it does!
Your future self…….
I’ve written about this before…the dregs of the waiting room. So many of us sit in a waiting room. Somewhere in the world…at any given day….to get our kiddos the therapy they need to live a better life….to equip them….to prepare them..
Every Thursday I sit in a waiting room ….the routine of it used to bother me…now it’s my safe place. The same parents..the same kids…the same therapist…it begs a sense of normalcy….that’s rare..right?
This Thursday we were early..and there was a new family…. A mother a father (which is rare) and three children, a sweet 16 month old, and her two brothers…a three year old there for speech and his seven year old brother…not there for therapy…..
They are all in the waiting room play room…..Bob jumps in the middle of them…the older boy says let’s build a tunnel using these blocks….Bob says..I can’t do that..I’ll watch….the boy says no..you’ll help ….come on….
I watch my boy..what’s his next move..will he do it.lor sit there….
Bob says…I’ll watch…
The boy says no…you help…
It’s a stand off….for all of two seconds…..
My boy says…ok…and he starts helping…….
And so it begins…..social interaction….stepping out of a comfort zone…..
I’m so proud ..I believe my bra may pop…just saying,,,,
I watched him today. Like so many other days, I watch him, my boy, my son.
Thursday’s are always the same. We climb in the car and make the trek to OT and Speech.
Where are we going today, he asks?
Speech and OT, I say. We are going to Columbia to see Ms.Jenn and Ms. Reagan.
Not to school, he asks?
No, I say…to therapy.
Every Thursday is the same.
Today we walk in to the clinic. There are two girls..the same two that are there every Thursday. They don’t need therapy. They are Bob’s age. Their siblings are there for treatment. They are there with their parents waiting. That’s what you do in waiting rooms. Right? You wait? That’s what I do every Thursday….I wait…I think..I try to decompress for the two hours that my son receives guidance..in speech..language and OT..that helps him build upper body strength that most children develop normally..my boy..not so much….
I watch him go into the playroom with the two girls and my rambunctious boy is quiet..may I dare say timid…they invite him to play blocks..he is standoffish…he watches….I watch…he makes a silly face at them…they invite him again… They know the appropriate social cues..they know how this works..he doesn’t but he wants too……he wants to engage..before he makes his move..the speech therapist comes to collect him….
And I wait ….I listen…to inane conversations…about manatees and sea lions and the Duggars….Honestly, 19 children do not interest me..only one…..
Two hours pass, the amount of time it takes for him to have his therapies….his language and upper body building therapy and it’s time to go………
He comes out and immediately looks for the two girls in the playroom….they aren’t there…they’ve already left…their siblings are finished and they are off….
Before we leave…Bob turns and addresses the girls who are no longer there….
Good bye guys…I’ll be back again soon.
Yes we will…….we will be back…every Thursday…..
His journey…my perception
We preach to our children be nice to others. Don’t call names…be kind..be a friend….. But how many of us actually practice what we preach with our children? I know I have fallen short way to often.
The thought of being kind to others has been on my mind lately. It’s not there because of personal issues but with a recent visit to the fair. Yes, I learned something from the county fair.
Every Saturday we go to lunch and do some form of an outing with Bob. God bless him for 8 hours a day his life…is governed by school and therapists and basically practicing life skills. So, on the weekend we like to relax and cut loose a little. We try to drag him out of his comfort zone, which is our home and bring him into the “real world”.
Any given Saturday there is a zoo trip, he doesn’t like animals but he likes the train at the zoo. Or we take him to the park, which he truly adores..for various reasons..there are kids…there are swings….it’s fun! This Saturday we made the trek to the County fair…I’m sure you know the type..basic Ferris wheel, kiddie rides, games where you can win a fish or a stuffed animal….french fries and hot dogs and elephant ears oh my!
I can’t lie. I was nervous. I didn’t know how it would go. I asked my FB family for prayers, good thoughts, or even good juju. I was reaching.
We arrive at the fair. Bob sees letter..words..that’s excites him. What does that say mommy, he asks? I oblige and answer holding his hand a little tighter as the music and the smells and the people seem to barrel towards us. The funny thing is, you never probably even think of all of these things until your life is touched with Autism. Our senses are accosted daily and the fair..well let’s just say, that’s a whole lot to take in…especially when you are little and autistic.
We get to the ticket booth and the hubs proceeds to buy the tickets. He looks at me and asks how many should I get? I don’t know….depends on if he can handle this or not. Oh, what the hell get 50 tickets…this could work!
Bob gripped my hand tightly and said, I wanna go home…I’m scared….
I told him we would walk a little further and if he wanted to go home we would……
We didn’t have to leave. He loved it! He rode the roller coaster not one time but three times. We rode the tilt a whirl. I thought I was going to vomit. He smiled the entire time. He even tried his hand at throwing ping pong balls into bowls to win a fish. He won not ONE but TWO fish. He also rode a train ride. The hubs informed the attendant that Bob was Autistic. She treated him with such dignity and kindness. Guess what, it didn’t even cost us an extra ticket for this woman to be kind to my child.
We moved on to a motorcycle ride. Even though it is October and technically Fall, it is still hot as hades in SC. Evidently the South didn’t get the memo! While we were standing and waiting our turn, the attendant proceeds to complain about the heat. I really tuned her out. My only concern was that Bob got on and off the ride safely. As Bob mounted the cycle, the attendant helped him and then she did the strangest thing. I felt like I was looking at something that wasn’t a reality…but it was. She proceeded to roll up my child’s sleeves. Evidently, because she was hot she assumed Bob was as well. I watched this woman. I watched this person proceed to do and act of kindness, without thought of herself …..just seamlessly giving some relief to a child. That one act…..that simple thing she did..meant the world to me….
The fumbling of her fingers a she rolled his sleeves up….the kindness she bestowed upon my child…didn’t cost either of us a thing…it was what it was….an act of kindness…..just a simple act of kindness….
I leave you with this…try to do a simple act of kindness…I know I am going to make a valiant effort…. Because you know……you never know when the one thing you do…that one act…will impact another persons journey…
Hugs and love,
Bob and Sissy’s momma
Tomorrow morning I will bring him to your classroom door. He will be the little boy with a big smile and big heart, wearing a backpack that bears his name and a lunch box that has food he will eat. Did I tell you he won’t be eating the cafe food….it’s not for him..not right now anyway.
He is excited. He is four. He is Autistic. He is my boy…my heart..my world.
Please treat him gently. Please help him learn. He doesn’t need the academics. He already knows all of his numbers, shapes, colors, and even reads some. What my boy doesn’t know is how to interact with others. He needs practice and he needs a gentle person to help him find his way, to help him grow.
He needs you… I need you to help him.
I’m sure I won’t sleep tonight. I’m sure I’ll have a hard time leaving your classroom. Please be gentle and understanding to us both. We are connected you see. He is my heart…. I am his voice….you are his teacher….
Help him, help me….this is hard…..
This thought enters my head every time my teenager..my girl leaves the nest and enjoys time with other families….don’t loathe us.
Don’t loathe us because our life is not easy. Unfortunately because we cohabitate…yours isn’t easy either. You, my child, have to share your teenage hood with your brother and us….it’s not easy. You my child, however do it with grace and compassion and patience. How do you do it? How do we deserve you? How do you not loathe us?
I want your teenage years to be filled with fun…and care free…and whim….
However, you are part of this family. You are an integral part of what makes us work. Your love for your brother, your patience, you…just you…make all of our journeys so much better.
Never lose sight of yourself, your goals….and us…..
Without you…there is no us….
Thank you my love, my girl, my first born…..