July 16, 2010

Performance Art

Posted in Life's Little Moments tagged , at 6:30 am by autismmommytherapist

Justin bounds out of the office with his awkward march, his steps slightly staggered, much like hiccups. His hand is firmly enveloped in the fierce grip of the camp director because there are horses in close proximity, and she wants him to be safe. I watch as he slows his pace to make a careful descent down the moderate incline of the barn’s ramp, and eventually comes to a complete stop in front of me and my mother. We are perched eagerly on our unforgiving bench, trying to maneuver cameras and video recorders into perfect position as we wait for the event to begin. I have a moment when anxiety, my ever-present companion, washes over me when he releases his teacher’s hand and grabs mine to lead him from this place, but I quickly evade his grasp, and he complies with the command of the director. I regard him as he ascends a far steeper slope that will gain him access to the mounting area, and breathe a sigh of relief as I realize he will not protest this decision, and will indeed wait patiently for his equine friend. Next to me, I feel my mother visibly relax as well.

Today is the culmination of a week’s worth of activities for my son, ranging from acquiring grooming techniques, to feeding the horses, to expanding on his repertoire of riding tricks. I am proud of him for participating in this event, but feel far more pride that he has once again acclimated to something new, something far removed from his usual lexicon of activities. In the weeks to come my son will be participating in two new camps, attending a brand new school, and of course begin the journey of forging new relationships with all the primary and ancillary employees associated with these new locales. Since Justin does form emotional bonds with those around him, I wonder if he will regret losing access to those he cared for, will find it arduous to begin again. I believe he will be excited by the new experiences, but perhaps will mourn the connections to staff, the emotional ties that were integral both to his progress, and his happiness. I accept that I can only guess at his feelings. I may never truly know.

But for this moment, as he swings his growing frame over the saddle and clutches the reins tightly, I vow not to think such thoughts, to sequester my trepidation at the impending changes, my sadness at the necessity of goodbyes. Instead, I watch my son flash his brilliant smile at his mother and grandmother as he performs, his vocal utterances in perfect rhythm with the stride of his animal. My mother places her hand on my arm, and squeezes it tightly. And for the next few minutes there is just this, the joy of accomplishment, and my inherent pride in my boy. For once, I permit myself peace.


  1. Kathy M said,

    I think it’s wonderful that he has such a strong connection to horses. The animals bring him a sense of peace, which in turn brings you some!

  2. Cindy said,

    What a wonderful, joyful moment.

  3. Mary Craig said,

    What joy those small strides give to the mommies who do all we can to help make the progress happen but must ultimately wait for it to be “his time”. So happy to think POAC is helping kids find their love too!!!

  4. LZ said,

    I had to chuckle at the “but I quickly evade his grasp”…it gave me a mental image of the many times I have done the same thing, to try to keep my son on track when we are doing something he doesn’t want to do…

    It is a wonderful thing when we get to see them reach beyond our “expectations.” Watching my son accomplish and achieve things I would not have initially believed he could do fills me with such a tremendous sense of hope for him, and the pure joy is almost overwhelming, for both of us.

    • One of the few great things we get out of this experience as parents is the ability to appreciate every moment so much more that we would have otherwise. Thanks for commenting!

  5. Michele Ireys said,

    Love today’s post… love all of them actually 🙂

  6. Mom said,

    It really was a special moment in time. His joy and ours–my cup runneth over! Love, Mom

  7. Chad said,

    Sweet–seems as if things are moving peacefully forward.

    I love this line–But for this moment, as he swings his growing frame over the saddle and clutches the reins tightly, I vow not to think such thoughts, to sequester my trepidation at the impending changes, my sadness at the necessity of goodbyes.


  8. jess said,

    we all need to allow ourselves those moments – nothing but the moment itself and the joy therein.

    this one sounded wonderful.

  9. misifusa said,

    How wonderful! xo

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