Late last night the TV was on, like usual. I wasn’t really paying attention to it, I don’t normally unless there is something on worth getting my attention. It wasn’t until I heard something about an autistic boy, did my ears perk up. Its not that I search out for things like this, I don’t really have to, they seem to find me. I tried at one point to literally immerse myself in everything related to this, but I just found that it made me put Josh in a box, and not want him to get out. So instead I put the books back in a drawer, put away all my notes and theories on autism itself, took a deep breath and decided to just let Josh live and be who he was, with or without autism, and everything else that I truly don’t understand.
Its not that I ignore it, or think its bad to be up to date with it, its just for me, if I look into it, I automatically think everything must apply to Josh, and he cannot, nor never will, change. Its not really the best way to be trying to help him, and so for me, it just works best to take things as they come.
But last night, something about an autistic boy caught my attention.
As I watched what was going on, I suddenly realized, this was not the first time I was seeing this. I had seen the exact same thing, years prior. Watching it now suddenly gave me a new look on things, I remember watching it, because at the time, I remember wondering what this word “Autism” was and why the kid was acting the way he was. I had some ½ cooked idea on what I thought it was, and never really thought much more about it. It was probably the first time I had ever heard the word used. I had long forgotten I had ever even seen that, until last night.
And then, my thoughts about it were different last night than they were perhaps a few years ago.
Instead of wondering what was up with him, I wondered if that could be Josh someday. Instead of wondering why they did that, I worried that someday I would have to do that. And instead of asking what they were going to do, I asked what would I do? And then I hoped I would never be put in that situation. Never have to worry about putting him into a home, even though we came very close to that not even two years ago. I hoped I would never have to worry about hearing the news that he “Escaped” from somewhere he shouldn’t have had to escape from, and I hoped, hoped with everything in me – that I would never have to say good bye to him, leave him screaming for me to save him. Not again.
I was glued to the show to the end, thankfully it was only ten minutes at most. And then I turned away, and looked a the blond head bobbing on the couch at ten pm, way past his bed time, happy just to be there, playing with his cars, sitting with his bear.
I wonder. I always wonder. I often worry. About him. About his future. As I do all the kids, but mostly him. Mostly his. Its hard to say where he will be in ten years, when I don’t even know where he will be in ten minutes.
I don’t worry about the things I used to. I try not to sweat the small stuff with him. Like wondering if he will bring his bear to high school. But I do worry about things like in that ten minute clip. When he reaches high school – and he cant keep up with his peers…then what?
I worry about that now, and hes only in kindergarten. I worry that he will think because he isn’t quit the same, that he isn’t enough. I know that obviously now his only worries are if someone steps too close to him or his bear, but will it be the same in ten years?
Ten years. It seems so long, so far. So much time…I have plenty of time to worry about that.
But the truth is, time is flying. He is growing. He is changing. He has come so far, and I just hope…like always…that Im not pushing him to be someone hes not. I hope he knows that I love him for who he is, not for who he cant be, or who he will be. I love him. Just because hes Josh. Quirks, and no quirks. Attitudes, and no attitudes. Bears and no bears.
I know not everyone will, I know he will struggle with things, but don’t we all.
Ive said it before, but its worth saying again…I just want him to know that here, hes safe. He doesn’t have to worry, he doesn’t have to try to be someone he isn’t. I want him to be the best he can be, and I want him to know that we love him. How he is.