July 14, 2013
I’d love to tell you I have photos to commemorate each of these important moments, but I don’t. In part, it’s because I wasn’t present for two of them. This lack of photography is also due to a desire to simply live in the moment (and not drench my camera).
I can tell you these events couldn’t have come at a better time.
The last few months with Justin have been very challenging. Not the soul-sucking challenging of when he acts aggressively with us, although there have been those moments sporadically as well. No, we’ve been witness to the cyclical resurgence of Justin’s OCD, which rears its unwelcome head every spring, and lingers into summer.
In case you’re wondering (and I’m sure you are) these OCD moments are different than his more common perseverative tendencies which harm no one, and I’ve come to believe in fact they serve as a calming function for my boy. His desire to replay the same scene from Despicable Me on his DVD player a thousand times is merely a harmless endeavor. His actions when enmeshed in the throes of OCD however, are not. Justin is very agitated when engaged in them. They serve no function. He suffers.
We are extremely fortunate in that his school has a wonderful BCBA who makes house calls (I consider his school to be the “Disneyworld” of autism), and with her three decades of experience I’m certain she’ll be able to at least quell, if not eradicate, the activities which of late are so troubling to my son. Help is on the way, just as Justin’s two-week hiatus from school is terminated and he returns to his normal schedule, which calms him as well.
But today’s post isn’t about the yin. It’s about the yang.
During this challenging hiatus there were moments of joy, of firsts, of unprecedented accomplishment which superseded the dark times. I was able to recognize and revel in them which is a first for me as well, as I tend to wrap myself up in Justin’s suffering when it occurs, which is neither healthy for me, nor for him.
During these last two weeks I’ve had the joy of hearing my youngest son tell me he willingly rode a pony at camp, the child who’s still afraid of most dogs and has declared at Justin’s horse back riding lessons that “he will never do that”. I’ve had the thrill of watching my eldest son master his fear of water slides (while his parents ran frantically above and below so as not to lose him), and choose of his own volition to return for yet another run.
My mom has regaled me with Zach’s excellent behavior on his first ever plane ride (plus his trip to the copilot’s seat which left me envious). Last, and especially not least, I’ve had the gift of hearing my son repeat “I love you” to me, unprompted, in response to my bestowing our staple line upon him.
It’s taken me a long time to get to this place, one in which I can staunch the sad aspects of autism and simultaneously soak in the joys of my children’s accomplishments. I’m in a place of firsts too, and it finally feels right.
Glorious moments; glorious firsts. Here’s hoping there are a great deal more to come.