So, in keeping with the theme of this blog, which is celebrating Autism, I’m not going to start off telling you why I have some really mixed emotions today. Instead, I’d invite you to celebrate a couple of major accomplishments of Nathan’s over the last few days.
1. Nathan had a student teacher in his classroom this week. His teacher Ms. W offered each student a choice: they could introduce themselves or she would introduce them. Nathan chose to introduce himself! This is huge for him, making himself loud enough to be heard to a stranger, plus being social, wow! We are beyond thrilled.
2. “I love you too”
That’s right. My son said “I love you too” in response to “I love you Nathan”. We were dancing to I’m Still Here & I was feeling a little weepy anyhow. So, I gave him a squeeze, said I love you & he gave me a hug back, said I love you too. Well, I lost it, started to sniff and shake and cry (just a bit!) and do you know what he did?
He patted my back, just like you would a small baby or child who is crying.
He has always been fairly empathic, especially with other children. He was a baby that would cry if another baby was crying. And, he often crys when Eric is in trouble. But this was another level for him. He didn’t say it, but it was like he understood the song, why I was crying and wanted me to know he is “okay.” Maybe he does.
It just feels so much that he is waking up, making incredible strides, surprising me everyday with all he is capable of. I’m so very proud of him and all the hard work he is doing. He’s put up with a lot in the last 7 months – new diet, new vitamins, kindergarten, new expectations – and come through it all so much stronger and present in the world. I’m still not sure what we are doing “right” for him, but I do know I will do everything I can to keep supporting this amazing progress.
And then, because I did tell you I’m feeling conflicted today, I’ll tell you why.
We went to an awesome indoor play area today. Eric, C (a friend) and Nathan (and I, of course) were there 3 hours. At some point, each kid came up and decided they were thirsty. C & I got the first juice box (she’s 6 & could have gone on her own, but we didn’t know what was available or the cost). I handed Eric a dollar & sent him to the counter. He got the drink without a problem.
Nathan tried hard, but the line was too long and by the time it was his turn, he’d lost his nerve. He spoke too softly, couldn’t make eye contact or be understood. Mommy to the rescue. So, even with all the amazing growth, there is still a long way to go. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not torn up (too much), it’s just hard to watch the younger child pass him by. I guess that’s just part of my life, it just doesn’t ever get any easier.
In case you’re wondering, here’s the song that we were dancing to: