Saturday, July 7, 2012

A Path Less Traveled

I have so much to tell today, that I'm not quite sure where to start. I'd like to tell you how proud I was of my boys - both of them, with their little sensory quirks - and how well they did with the fireworks they experienced on the 4th of July. How little C, after some initial suspicion, charged right into the fray and started merrily almost-catching his brother on fire at every turn with his newfound love of sparklers. How after a giant boom that sent my own heart to racing, he gleefully demanded, "MORE PARACHUTE!"

(Apparently one of the fireworks set off that night was called a parachute, so every single one after that was subsequently given the moniker.)

Then I'd tell you about how big C, who needed industrial-plant-worthy earphones to make it through New Years Eve last year, was running around like a madman, demanding more sparklers, more parachutes (the term was contagious, apparently), more, more, more!

(I wouldn't tell you how Mommy ended up hiding inside after the first big boom, incidentally.)

I WOULD tell you how at some point after I forced myself to stop hovering at the window, trying to make sure that none of my children lost any digits, it struck me - this was the first social outing we'd had since the children were little more than infants, that I did not end the night in depression. Sometime amongst the whining about eating dinner, climbing on swingsets and begging for JUST ONE MORE BROWNIE, I had forgotten to compare my children to the handful of others running around that house. I had not fretted about what one child was doing that little C was not, I had not hurried after him to drag him from playing in isolation in a back bedroom to gently push him into the fray of screaming banshees running around the back yard.

Yes, he spent time in that back bedroom - but he enjoyed himself back there for short spans of time, then made his way outside to see "What's goin' on?"

At the end of that night, for the first time, I left a gathering with other children HAPPY, if not a little frazzled. Okay, a lot frazzled.

But those events - even those - paled in comparison to yesterday's ride home. Smaller, less glitzy, but infinitely more significant to this mama.

Remember this post? Yes, the whiny one?

As usual, little C decided to answer it in his own way, on his own time, his own terms. As usual, this mama ended up humbled by the way things come around, on a timetable greater than my own.

Yesterday. It is time for the ride home. His therapist and I rush through the how-did-he-do's as the rain around us tries to decide between drizzling and pouring. I know his best friend at school had a birthday today, and I am ready with questions for him on how it went.   Did you sing Happy Birthday? I will ask him. Did you eat cake?

Before I can start my barrage, a query comes from the back seat.

"Mommy. How you spelllllll....cake?"

Startled, I respond. "C-A-K-E, cake, baby."

"Mommy. How you spellll...Happy Birthday?"

We make our way, letter by letter, through the events of his day, as seen through his eyes. We spell the birthday girl's name, his favorite therapist's name, happy birthday (again), and on and on. Eventually, we move to various things that catch his eye out of the car window, and I can do nothing but be grateful for this glimpse into my baby boy's mind, a glimpse that many parents of children on the spectrum may never know.

Hearing about his day may have taken a slightly different form that I may have imagined.

But Good Lord, I'll take it.

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