A few days ago I was listening to a new Dad go on about his expectations of his daughter. See, he’s an engineer and his wife is a doctor and nothing less will be tolerated from his children. They have no excuses he says. They come from a family full of smart people. She will not be allowed to watch tv, or have a cell phone, or play video games. She will read books, and play with puzzles and be an accomplished artist or musician along with being a stellar student. This conversation went on for about 1/2 hr. This 10 mth old girl already has a t-shirt stating “future Harvard grad”. I sat there listening but was unable to join in the conversation.
Last weekend Jay pulled me to his bed and gestured that something had fallen behind. I pulled the bed out but there were no stray toys to be found. I showed him there was nothing there. I told him over and over, “there’s nothing there baby”. He was so agitated. His wheels were spinning. It wasn’t registering. He was determined that something had fallen behind his bed. No less than 5 times in 2 hrs, either I or my husband pulled the bed out and showed him there were no toys there. My poor boy was so confused. He spent most of the day out of sorts. He was obviously looking for something but I had no idea what that something was. He had his favourite Thomas and Percy toys. He had his chapstick. (Yes, he loves chapstick). He had his juice cup. What could he possibly be looking for? If only he had the words to tell me. If only his entire day wouldn’t get thrown off because he couldn’t find this elusive object. If only the stupid thing really had been behind his bed so we could move on from this.
The next day we were in the car and as happens quite frequently he starts laughing. That sweet, perfect, infectious laugh that is my favourite sound in the whole world. I can’t see what is so funny. Nobody was talking, there’s nothing going on outside but something is amusing my boy to no end. I love it and hate it at the same time. I love that he’s so happy. I hate that I don’t know what it is so that I can reproduce it all the time. I love the way his laugh makes me feel giggly myself and how with that 1 thing he so easily makes my whole world alright. I hate that I can’t hear his sweet voice say any words. What an amazing sound that would be.
In the car that day I think back on that dad. I do hope that all his dreams for his little girl come true. My dreams are not quite so lofty. Of course I would love for Jay to go to college and become the leading expert in whatever field he chooses. But for now all I want is to know my son. Is that what Autism does? Does it make us want less for our children? Does it rob us of big dreams? Is it bad that I would be happy, ecstatic even, just to know that my son can start elementary school in a mainstream or integrated class? I would feel like I hit the lotto if my son called out to me using my name “Mommy”. I would be there in a second. Each and every time.
As powerful as autism is … it’s not as powerful as the love I have for my son though. Really and truly I love the kid. So while I refuse to let freakin autism erase my hopes/desires/expectations. I will let it postpone them for a while. See you in a few years Harvard dreams.
First things first though …
I want to know what makes him laugh so heartily.
I want to know what he was looking for behind the bed.
I want to know what his speaking voice sounds like.
I want to know what he would like to do on the weekends.
I want to know what’s going on in that beautiful head of his.
I want him to let me in on the secrets.
I want to make him feel fulfilled.
I just want to KNOW MY SON.
Dreams Post-Poned April 11, 2011