Found a print of this photo a week ago. It has been sitting next to the computer ever since.
My son is a tall seven-year-old now and far from the baby he was in this picture, but this is what I see when I look at him. Everyday.
The hair is a little sturdier and the cheeks a bit less full, but he still has that perfect fair skin, sweet kissy lips and little pink ears. And autism has perpetuated his innocence and vulnerability.
I think this is why I am so unforgiving of myself when I am less than cheery, bright and patient with him.
Today we were late to school again. It happens almost every morning. I build an extra few minutes into our routine and somehow it evaporates and we are running, as usual.
Or rather, I am running and my son is standing where he always does, somewhere between the moment ahead and the moment behind, not quite sure how to move from one to the other.
Transitions continue to be the most difficult thing for him to master. Like many autistic children, he needs to fully complete what he is doing before he can begin to comprehend what comes next.
Daily, I forget this. Or I am overwhelmed by it. Or I know it and resent it. Or I refuse it and try to change it. Or I am mad at it. Or at him. Or at me. Or at God. I forget which.
My son forgives me a lot sooner than I forgive myself. I sometimes have to bark orders at him to get him moving. Such was the case today.
I hate the sound of my voice when I am trying to get out the door. But it is what it is. I light a fire and the molasses flows faster.
Today we arrived just as the teacher was bringing the other children in from the field. They run laps before class each morning. It helps the kids calm down and concentrate and I wonder why someone didn’t think of it sooner. My son loves to run.
Much to my relief, the teacher let him get in one lap, but our tardiness threw her schedule to the wind. They were still on the blacktop when I extracted myself from my son’s arms and managed to go a few minutes later. We are the derailers of best laid plans.
Last year, our habitual tardiness was a thorn in the first grade teacher’s side. He asked me every week to please put my son on the bus instead of driving him to school.
How this man could possibly teach autistic children and come to the conclusion that my driving was to blame for our late arrival…well, that’s beyond my comprehension. Whatever.
The teacher this year is more understanding and I am grateful. She even prefers our tardiness if it gets him to school in a better frame of mind.
She is also curious about my son and what makes him tick. That’s a good way to be with him.
He’s a puzzle for certain and for those who figure out how to assemble all of his little pieces, there is great reward, because he’s smart and funny and sweet. So sweet.
Sweet enough to think of our Thanksgiving turkey as family.