I'm still here. Just not quite as verbal lately (whether it be talking or writing)
...because I have been trying to be quiet and listen.
Those who know and (still) love me well, can appreciate that I just love to be truly with them.
Talking (also loudly).
Enjoying the moment.
But I've been in my head a lot, too. Reading articles, checking out books, talking with experts, doctors, and therapists....Attempting to understand (if that's even possible) this creature, this world of autism, and more importantly, to understand how it affects MY child.
After all, they say that it's better to be informed.
I don't know who they is, and I would usually agree. But this? Noone really knows it all. It's hard to know what direction to go in or who to talk to first. Really, our toxic world has created something that has changed our children, and they can't even agree on what it is. And it's not one-size-fits-all, either.
...because they don't know the heartbreak of watching your child try to fit in.
...because they don't see how you agonize as you try to decide if he should or should not go to summer camp
...because they don't understand that it feels like your parenting is being judged and questioned and possibly being laughed at all. the. time.
We are in the spotlight, you see. It feels as if EVERYONE knows us, and is watching us. But not really. I KNOW that, I do, it's just a really hard feeling to shake.
because of all of the noise,
because of all of the talk,
becaue of all of the competing voices of help
because of all of the spinning-in-circles-because-I have-to-make-a-thousand-different-decisions-today.....
I have taken time to try to get inside the mind and heart of my Joe who takes it all in and isn't as, well, loud, as the rest of us. At least not all of the time. Sometimes, his laughter rings through the house like the sound of a church bell, and when he is excited about something, I could listen to him talk for forever. Truly.
But this week, I was able to observe the following:
Joe patiently telling Max that "No, Brown Bear is BROWN, see, like the door? And Blue Horse is really BLUE, just like your walls. OK?"
After getting tested for allergies, Joe asked us, "SO I'm really not allergic to dogs and cats? Oh thank goodness." Then he promptly sat down with Cleo, our dog, with his arm draped around her, and said, "I love you, and I would take allergy shots for you. But luckily, I don't have to."
Max sitting on the porch and re-telling in the cutest mish-mash possible "Where the Wild Things Are:.... to the worms that he had gathered together. When they started to wiggle away, he said, "Max says, "BE STILL"."
Max wandering into Joe's room while we were reading together, and said, "Joe, I play with your LEGO's, ok?"
Waiting for the (possible) bark from Joe, I was amazed to hear just the smallest "HMMPH" and then,
"OK Max, but DON'T mess up my house I made, ok?"
Then he looked at me, smiled, and said, "Where were we?" (Of course then I had to explain why I had tears running down my face. He finally GOT the scenario that we have been rehearsing and rehearsing and rehearsing some more. Praise God for small miracles is true prayer in this home.)
...And finally, when Joe was in the car with just me, I played a lovely little song called, "Hey Little Man" by Eddie From Ohio. (Click on the link to hear it...and download for free.) When I looked in the mirror, my boy was wiping away tears. Choked up, I asked him what was wrong. His answer, "Nothing, mama. Just a sweet song is all."
And so we hope and pray and listen....