Wednesday, April 4, 2012

It really is the little things in life

When you have a child with autism, you learn just how many things you take for granted. Especially if you have other children that aren't autistic. You learn it  really is beyond impossible to compare your Autie kiddo to anyone else. I have learned a lot of hard lessons since The Boy was diagnosed 6 years ago. He is 9 years old, and should  be getting loads of birthday party invites, riding his bike up to get a Slushee, having sleepovers, you know- all the things that are part and parcel of being 9.

But we don't get birthday party invites, he is only allowed to ride his bike to the end of the street and back without one of us, has not been invited to a sleepover, not that I know if I would let him go. He has friends, other kids do ok with him, but these are just parts of life he has yet to experience, and may never get to.

But, as easy as it is to let myself get disappointed with the things others associate with "normal" life, I can't let it rule our lives. Yes, occasionally I wallow, and throw myself a pity party, but I get past it, move on and revel in the beautiful soul that The Boy is. I choose to focus on his huge achievements, his wonderful smile and silly sense of humor.

Today was one of those days that I felt truly blessed, and experienced a moment of pure happiness.  At school the kids earn yellow "tickets" for exemplary behavior and helping others. They can put these tickets into a drawing for a prize at the end of the week, into a drawing to be Star Student and read the Pledge of Allegiance and the school pledge over the loudspeaker for the whole school, or save them to buy things at the student store.

Twice now, The Boy has put his ticket into the drawing to do the pledge, and today was the second time he got to do it. The first time I didn't even know about it until the next day- he forgot to tell me. I heard from teachers and the principal what a wonderful job he did.  Yesterday, I happened to see the Star Student List and his name was on it to do the pledge today! I asked him about it, and he was very laid back about it- "Yeah, I'm gonna do the pledge again mom"

So I stayed at the school today just so I could hear him. He has this speech issue- he is very "breathy" when he talks, and is sometimes hard to understand as he takes a lot of breaths between words, and sometimes between syllables.  But he did not have one "stutter" one stumble or one mistake today. He read in a clear , steady voice and sounded amazing. I sat in the cafeteria and I cried pure, happy tears.  Just a few years ago, he wasn't even speaking, hell just a few months ago he would never have even tried to earn one of the yellow tickets.

A parent that doesn't deal with autism, or any other special need for that matter, would have probably thought I was ridiculous. These are  the little things that keep us from curling up in the fetal position and living in a constant state of depression. Little things that parents of neurotypical kids may take for granted This one little thing, just a day in the life of 4th grader, was a HUGE deal in my life.  And the pride that HE will feel from a job well done- well that is priceless.

And it is these little things we remember and celebrate.