I opened the blinds to let in the light and then closed them again. I lit a candle hoping that the flame might somehow ignite something inside of me and yet I sat stagnated. I began to search within myself as if to check in to make sure that I am okay and there I was Blank faced, quiet and unsure. Nothing new there. That is how I have always been, But without ABA in the mix the past few days I have realized some things.
Last night, I got to laugh with my daughter and listen to her tell a story the whole way though with out interruption. And for the first time I wascontent enough to tell her the story of Noah’s Ark with enhanced voices and tone at just the right places. And right at the end as her friend down the street knocked on the door she ran to open it while saying excitedly, “my mommy was just telling me a story about Jesus and….’mommy what was that boys name again?’” “His name was Noah” I said smiling while harnessing a swelling heart in my chest. And with that they were off riding their bikes on the sidewalk and talking about different kinds of animals.
I had spent the better partof the last week cleaning and preparing for my sons tenth birthday party. I had installed a new doorknob with a lock and continued to detail clean and fight against therapists (that’s a post that’s been written already). His party was a great success even if he really didn’t hang much with people and hid in his room he would pop his head in for the important parts like presents and cake. what was remarkable however was our guests. Most of the children in attendance were from our autism parents group that meets twice monthly. And oh man what a beautiful day. It wasn’t even hard. There was no anxiety, no reason to fear the atypical behaviors because in my home weird is normal. And ya know, I kinda like it that way.
There was a boy that is just obsessed with Fans. Ceiling fans, window fans, little fans you name it. That’s all he talked about to anyone at the party and ya know it was quiet awesome. About twenty minutes after he arrived I took him on a tour of our house and let him see all of our fans and i placed him in charge. He would often come up to me and ask, “did anyone slow the fans down” or “should i turn that fan on higher” so after about the third round of this conversation i asked him if he could reach the fan cord and he reached up and when i saw that he could i said “Okay, you are in charge of the fans today. You are the ‘fan man’. If there are to be any changes in the fans rotation everyone must come to you”. He got a serious look on his face because now he had purpose in this party and i had placed him in charge. This was serious business and i told everyone in attendance as such. “Only the fan man can touch the fans so don’t change anything unless you ask him”. THe amazing thing is, no one laughed all the parents in attendance smiled and continued on like this was normal and ya know, i loved every moment of his company. Even my husband got involved (he is an architect) and began talking to the fan man about how to install fans and the ins and outs of how to mount them. It was so great.
As i began to serve the pizza three of the neighborhood kids must have gotten the memo that there was pizza at our house because the kids just kept coming. They were in and out and it seemed every time i turned around there was another precious mouth to feed but I didn’t care. I just kept handing out pizza and even sent David out to get more. It was the most amazing thing to me to see how many people came and went in the course of three hours and I couldn’t help but take note of the amazing things that Aiden and autism have brought into our lives. I couldn’t help but look at my three amazing cousins I hadn’t seen in more than two years and have to hold back tears at how much i have missed my family. I haven’t been able to see them much since Autism took over and outings became so challenging for us and many of us are scattered through Michigan and beyond and have families of our own so I get it. But when i do get a moment I savor it. And i take it all in like a breath of fresh air and thank God in the moment for the blessing however short it may be.
Aiden did well. This was the first birthday party that he actually sat and opened gifts while everyone watched. It almost felt normal somehow. He opened one gift which contained his chew necklaces and immediately put it in his mouth and began chewing and everyone giggled I laughed and said “I think we have a winner!” And everyone began laughing. He opened a few more gifts filled with old dvds (that’s what he loves) and many other toys that those in attendance had spent so much effort to find. And our amazing fan man , this was his first birthday party he had ever been invited to and his momma told me he had spent his own time and effort picking out the “perfect” gift for aiden on his own and I couldn’t help but feel so amazed and thankful for all the time and effort he put into that gift.
There are times on this journey with autism that you cant help but sit back and marvel at the beauty of human nature. There are times, even when the days are hard, that i sit back and instead of questioning I cant help but thank God for this different World he is showing me. When the world is hard sometimes all it takes is a little tweaking or a small break to set it right and the people you surround yourself with make all the difference.
After calming down a bit from our “disagreement” with our therapists regarding Aiden’s backsliding in the urinary accident department i had a thought that this behavior could possibly be medical. So Monday, i cancelled ABA, and took him out to children’s hospital in Detroit. My friend rose, a fellow autism momma and my best friend, rode out with me (because lets be real here Detroit is no place for a woman to be roaming around alone not to mention my vehicle isn’t the newest and yea I’m a scaredy-cat) You see, aiden only has one functioning kidney, the other is filled with cysts and non functional not to mention i wanted to rule out anything medical before proceeding with a behavioral ch. He did AWESOME! Of course i came prepared with a charged ipad, my iPhone his DVD player and a stack of his favorite dvds. He loved getting his blood pressure taken and at one point went over to put the blood pressure cuff on himself and said “hug”. Long story short he’s medically cleared and when the doctor told me as such i said “well, that great and bad news” the doctor apparently knew where i was coming from and smiled an understanding smile and said “yup, and my job ends here”. We both giggled and he was gone.
As we drove home and were stopped at a street light i looked and saw two people begging for money and I couldn’t help but end up in contemplation. After a few moments of silence i said to Rose, “man there are so many worlds in this world. I mean think about it. There’s the world of the rich, the autism world, the poor world, the mentally ill world its so crazy”. And this is why she is my best friend she replied, “Yeah, and I don’t think I could survive in many of the other worlds”. She just went with it… she got it. So many people don’t.
I have always been an empath. I tend to see other people’s reality before i consider my own. I can sit at a bar or any social event really and see a lot more than most people do. I pick out things. I ponder things. I piece things together more than most and that can be exhausting but also educating. It’s fufilling. This “skill” however painful at times is the skill i consider to be my biggest asset. I think its important to consider other people’s reality. It’s what keeps society functional really. It’s what causes me to reach out a hand and say “hey we got this”. Or “Hey don’t worry if he melts Down” or “hey Kid with no shirt coming through!” Even if the social constructs say this is inappropriate behavior at a party. Needlesss to say, my house is open territory to be real, but with that comes a lot of smiles and a relaxed atmosphere that many of those in the special need community don’t get to experience often.
well, my kiddos will be home soon so I suppose its time to cut myself off and blow out this candle before the hurricane hits and knocks it over. I want to leave you with one parting thought. If you find yourself in a struggle please remember that somewhere in every struggle is a blessing you just gatta keep your eyes open and keep looking for it.