Life With A Side Of Autism

LIFE WITH A SIDE OF AUTISM

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Make A Wish

Make a wish, a voice once whispered.

I looked around me at my life and realized how very much I had. My husband, my daughter, and now a son. We'd waited oh-so-long for the two of them to join us, and now being a family was filling my life in a way nothing else ever had.

"I wish I had the power to make time slow down," I said.

And it did. Simple things like the way water poured from a cup became a study of microcosms, watching the ebb and flow and spatter and drip as if I could see each individual molecule. Birds flying in the sky ceased becoming an everyday thing - now they were an event, viewed with wonder as the wind lifted their wings, their songs ringing in my ears as the air rushed by and I felt every particle of it, just as they did. Just as he did.

You can keep wishing.

I thought about all the times I'd let my mouth get in the way of my brain. How many thoughtless words had come out the wrong way? How many people had I hurt with my careless tongue?

"I wish I could communicate better." I said.

And then I realized that words were only a small part of how I communicate, and how I can be communicated with. Eye contact went from being a fleeting thing to being a vital necessity. I paid attention to every smile, every grimace, every rub of tired eyes. I also learned to speak a new language - one that sounded similar to mine, but in which the words were skewed to the point of unrecognizable to just about anyone but me. Still, I celebrated each and every word for the accomplishment it was. Above all, I learned to hear "I love you" in a scream of pure joy before I hit the ground with thirty pounds of toddler on me. I learned to see "I love you" in the sleepy half-smile when I woke him in the morning. I learned to feel "I love you" in a hundred different ways every day, and I was the richer for it.

Go on, there are more wishes to be had.

"I wish I could take more joy in everyday things," I said.

Suddenly a whole new world opened up, with the squalling of child and got broader every day. When he was four, he drew a rectangle. It took him nearly two full minutes to complete, and it was a ramshackle, lopsided thing to be sure, but nothing can replace the triumph on his face as he grabbed his crayon and carefully repeated "Long, long, short, short" just like I showed him, and oh, the pure joy as we danced around the room, the delight in my husband's voice when I called him at work to say "He drew a rectangle! And he said 'rectangle' as clear as day!" I never knew my heart could nearly burst from my chest the first time he played with a friend, laughing and running and then crying when I told him it was finally time to leave.

Every day has a celebration in it somewhere, it seems. It might all be little stuff, but of enormous consequence. He started kindergarten. He sang in his first chorus concert. He read his first book out loud. He wrote "I love you Mommy" on a paper cut-out heart. First grade, second grade...he figured out fractions and addition and subtraction, and he can tell you all about seedlings and what it takes to grow them, in a roundabout way.

You can keep going, you know.

"How many wishes do I get?"

The supply is unlimited. As long as you draw breath, you'll see wishes granted. They may not be as you first envisioned them, but they're granted all the same.

I'll just keep wishing, and he'll just keep going on as he always does. I'm here to wish from the sidelines, as he lives his life to the fullest.

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