The boy was feeling fine by the time he went to bed last night, but he still had a mini-melt down to end the evening. It may have been the day of being home, but feeling not completely himself all day and then a burst of energy and then poof! A firecracker-flash over nothing really, but something that sets him a bit on edge when well and a quick bright burn and flash to anger when not. I think because I told him I wasn't going to be home too on Saturday and he wasn't ready to let that be a change in his life.
I spent the day today with thespians in Olympia listening and listening to students, writing and writing about what I saw students perform, and talking and talking to other theatre peeps I see so seldom as we are scattered across the city doing various projects always. It was restful, draining, and encouraging at the same time.
When I got home there was a surprise in a young man that was our boy's first ABA tutor was visiting us unexpected as he was just up in Edmonds for the day. As he spoke about where we began working with my son after his autism diagnosis I was flooded with the feelings of those very muddy waters of where it all officially began. I also saw a much more confident and amazing young man standing before me that is now working as a special education preschool teacher---inspired he says by our son and the work he did with him when he was 3. I'm so proud of my son and his progress in life and this young man's journey---his calling and taking up the challenge and that it suits him well. He loves it.
He left after a nice visit and my dear husband went to lie down for a nap. So my son and I settled into a routine. The radio blaring our local NPR station and us taking turns on a game on the computer---at some point the world just stopped for a moment and gave me a pocket of quiet to settle into as my little boy climbed into my lap and said, "Mama, you went to Olympia today."
ME: Yes, I did. Did you miss me?
BOY: Hmmmm...(his thinking sound just like it is written it sounds) I think I did miss you.
ME: You think you did? Don't you know if you missed me?
He took his hands and cupped them on either side of my face and looked right at me for just a moment and said, "I did miss you from the moment I got up today. I missed my Mama." Then he turned away from me and settled his body into the pocket on my lap and leaned in for a kiss. You see he knows if he leans in like that he'll receive one. I gave him a kiss and he got up and excitedly ran around the room in response. This was more of a victory romp that he does hundreds of times a day, but this is his extra special "something extra special has happened” romp that celebrates with his body dancing as he does this sound that comes from a happy hum inside him. He does this in a happy bouncy run making a circuit of our living room and kitchen and back to where I am on the couch.
And then the room rushed back in with all the noise and complications of artistic lives and autism and each other. A few years ago I never thought I could have this much conversation with him and now yes, he is articulate even in some ways and in some moments, but for finding more footing in his understanding and our understanding him, sure we've got a ways to go.
My going somewhere even for the day is getting harder in some ways and I miss those more flexible moments where it didn't matter if I was there or not so I just took off to "do my thing", but truly I wouldn't trade that false freedom for this moment of connection---a connection that seems to get stronger. A moment that feels more defined and the waters are muddy, but it has all settled to the bottom for this very moment and if I don’t move or breath I can see where I’m standing. I see my feet sinking down in this squishy, gooey mud where I feel very stuck. So stuck, will I get out? No, I can wiggle my toes and the water is still clear. I can swim here. I know it.
Our lives are a bunch of unimagined moments. I never thought I'd be where I am or what I'd be doing except in that little girl that loved words somehow got here and somehow plays with words for a living. My son has always loved words even when he spoke very few of them he still loved them more than anything. He had a set of refrigerator magnets that were the alphabet and he'd spend hours arranging them into words. We had sets of them everywhere in the house, the car, and on any metal surface as it was the way we communicated and he played. We played or tried to by playing with words. He was barely two and a half and that is all he wanted to do. So of course he talks and wants to communicate. Why couldn't I see this coming?
This is a pocket I will put things into and keep. I will take them out in the quiet moments and reflect on what they are and then celebrate that we have them, they have value, and I never know what wonderful thing will plop down into my pocket again someday. On a day, when I've given out and perhaps even given in or felt pushed away---I'll see the journey dancing in my living room. I know the joy of a kiss after a day away. And I will listen, write, and talk playing with the words we have---letting go of imagining what could be or can be or should be or might be. This is my extra special moment today.