Some days, I can almost pretend we are no different from the family next door. We wake up, eat breakfast, spend our separate days at school or work, go home, have a family dinner, discuss the day’s events while watching tv, and then go to bed. The next day, we wake up and we do the same things over again, one day no more or no less than the others that followed or passed.
We get lulled in the predictability of it all. We put our guard down. We relax and revel in the absolute safety of our unexciting days. After all, tomorrow will be just another day in a safe, happily boring life, and one more day when everything just seems, ahhh, well … normal.
But one day it hits you like a well timed punch in the solar plexus. The brick in your gut is back. The absolute predictability of your ‘normal’ day is gone, and even if only momentarily, you are taken for a spin again in this rollercoaster life called Autism. Never mind the late nights or the early morning awakenings, those are the easy stuff. I can even deal with the bed wetting and laugh it all off. But the anger that comes without warning, the distant look in those eyes that do not hold a glimmer of recognition for anyone, the quick lightning pulls of hair here and there- those wear me down. They make me crumble and weep.
Last night, as I drifted off to sleep, I prayed for even just a single moment of clarity for my son. I prayed that today, I be given the opportunity to reach out to him and be seen, heard, and recognized. I wanted him to call me by name and know who I am.
This morning, Alphonse woke up at seven. After helping him to the bathroom, he lingered unexpectedly beside me, lying down with his head on my shoulder. I held his hand and sang to him songs I made up in my head, songs that told of how loved, wanted, and needed he is by his family. I poured my heart in those crazy snippets of rhymed melodies that I didn’t even notice the wetness in my cheeks. I looked at him, half-expecting him to say something, but he was so still I couldn’t tell if he had fallen asleep again.
Half an hour into my crazy songs, he opened his eyes and pushed off the covers I had put around him. He stood up, bowing a bit so that our foreheads touched briefly. He gave me the smallest hint of a smile.
And then our eyes met for the first time in so many days, those fleeting seconds seeming like they were meant to last forever.
Rollercoaster highs can be just as unexpected as the lows.