April 30, 2010
I took him for a walk in the stroller today, my youngest son who thankfully still enjoys being propelled around the neighborhood. We have some of our best conversations here, he and I, and the exercise enables me to burn off at least a quarter of the chocolate I’ve invariably ingested that morning. This is multi-tasking at its best.
This afternoon however there are mild protests at my chosen activity, and just a few hundred yards from our home there are exaggerated cries for our return. This is my one shot at elevating my heartrate in a positive fashion, so I quickly devise a way to distract him, which because his autism is mild, is fairly easy to accomplish. I tell him, with all the drama that I can muster, that we have to go for a walk because we are looking for dragons. His head whips around, and his grin overtakes his face as he repeats “Dragons!”, just in case I wasn’t certain. I tell him yes, point to the cerulean sky, and advise him to start searching. He resumes his former posture, and trains his eyes to the clouds above.
For the next ten minutes we converse on all things dragon. I ask him how many he sees, and he replies “four” (it’s always four). I query him about their gender, and they, like him, are invariably boys. They consistently remain nameless, these fiery, wanton creatures. In general they eschew evil, and practice only good magic. They are sometimes comprised of an entire family, one that mirrors our own with mother, father, eldest and youngest son. Born in every hue, they are sometimes radiant in their multi-colored splendor. I have no doubt that to my son, they are beautiful.
I thrill to witness his make-believe world soar, much as I imagine his creatures do in the exquisite articulation of their elongated wings. We have begun to spin elaborate stories about their lives, their achievements. Some are hilarious in their antics, some naughty. They are often hungry. I feel I’ve come to know them well.
So today, just for something new, I ask my son if his dragons, his friends created from the well-spring of his burgeoning imagination, are scared of anything. He pauses for a moment, seems to ponder my question with great concentration. At last he regards me quite seriously, looks me straight in the eye, and says “You, mommy”.
And I think to myself, that’s right, my sweet boy. Dragons, beware.