Monday, May 10, 2010

The Little Things

Having a son with autism has allowed me to learn many things....mainly to appreciate the little things....the simple things in life. A friend of mine, who has a son with cerebral palsy, once said that she has found life with her son with special needs is a much simpler life. Not an easier life but a simpler life. She went on to explain that there aren't as many events and activities to attend. There aren't a lot of bday parties, sleepovers, practices, etc. Sure there are other things....therapy, doctor's visits; but overall their daily life and mind set with their special needs son was simpler. I have to agree. I so appreciate the little things, the things that can often be taken for granted....and I use to have to wait a very long time for these things to occur and then grasp onto it like it might be the last time I ever experienced it. I have learned to appreciate any sort of spontaneity with Cal, his excitement over something that seems mundane to most, any sort of affection. As a young boy, his sensory issues were extremely challenging. Clothes, food, shoes, hair cuts, baths, you name it.....he didn't like it. I remember my cousin asking me once how I dealt with the fact that he wouldn't kiss me or hug me or allow me to kiss him or hug him. He use to violently wipe my kisses away, because he couldn't stand the way it felt to be kissed. As he has gotten older, with therapy and maturity, he has progressed....his sensory issues are still there....but they don't rule his life like they use to. He will now lean in for a kiss on the top of his head....not on his actual skin or his lips....but he will lean in when I ask him for a kiss. Same thing with a hug...he will lean in for me to hug him. He doesn't hug back YET! Every now and then if he lets me kiss him on the cheek, I may catch him gently...almost discreetly....wiping it off; but for the most part he deals with it. The other morning as I was sending my children off to school....I was kissing them, telling them I love them and God bless them. As they hurriedly ran to the car, Cal ran past me as I was doting on one of his sisters before sending her off. I shouted to him...."I love you Cal!". The next thing that happened was a huge blessing.....he turned and looked me in the eye and said with a smile "You love me mom!" It wasn't a question but a he knew what I was saying and he was trying to say "I love you too!" but he wasn't sure how to form the words in the right way. Then he blessed me even further....he ran back over to me, completely unprompted, and leaned in for a kiss on the head. Of course I kissed him. As I grinned like a 6 year old and blinked back tears.....I watched him smile at me as he ran back to the car! I kept thinking....he told me he loved me....although it was in an unconventional sort of way....he did tell me he loves me. Now don't misunderstand, I do think....I know....that Cal knows his family and many others love him. I know that he knows the feeling he gets from being showered with love. I know that he loves me too, but to have him express it in a physical and verbal way was a huge that I've only experienced 1 or 2 times in his almost 11 years of life. I'm not trying to sugar coat having a child with a special need and make it sound like it's all sunshine and roses, because believe me it hasn't been and still isn't. BUT my son is thriving, maturing, making so much progress (thanks to the love, support, encouragement, faith, hope and of course tons of therapy); and I am overjoyed. The little things....the simple things....those are starting to be apparent more often, and I am so grateful to have the opportunity to experience them and really appreciate them. I'll be the first to admit that if I didn't have Cal, I would probably take all the kisses and hugs and "I love yous" that are lavished on my by my daughters for granted. I may have ever known that there are parents who never experience those things. But because I have Cal, I have come to know that those kisses, hugs and "I love yous" should be appreciated, accepted wholeheartedly, and cherished. I am not suggesting that parents with typical children don't appreciate the love lavished on them by their children, I am just saying I don't know that I would have appreciated it and treasured as much as I do....if I had not experienced first hand having a child who didn't and couldn't express love in a physical and verbal way. One thing I always TRY to do is....accept with excitement and such gratitude any sort of affection my girls (and my son) lavish on me and return it to them as often as I can. And I can't ever begin to explain how much I cherish their kisses and hugs and "I love yous".

No comments: