Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Perfect 10

Sky turned 10. I'm still trying to wrap my head around this, actually. When he was an infant, I looked at moms of 10 year-olds and they seemed like parenting pros. Ironically (or, perhaps, totally predictably), I don't feel any more competent or skilled as a parent than I did the day he was born (though I am a heck of a lot better at dealing with bodily fluids).

On that day, when it was just the two us for the first time, I felt pretty overwhelmed. I had no idea how I would parent this kid. But I did know that we were definitely in this together, and that no matter what, I would always love him and I would always have his back. I told him that then. He sighed and snuggled, still getting used to the bright big world.

Last week, I told him this story of our first conversation. The cool thing about Sky is that if you slow down and pay attention, you can watch him hear you, process what you said, and then react slowly and deeply to it. I watched him do this after I told him this story. It took a couple of seconds for the light to shine in his eyes. He knows I love him, but he also longs to hear every detail of the wondrous story of us. "Thanks, Mom," he said with with a huge smile. I could tell he was simultaneously relieved and really touched. In his book, if I've had his back this far, I'm good for my word.

Random Sky Art
To tell you the truth, though, I feel unbelievably lucky to be this kid's mom. Sure, it's challenging and mind bending at times, but holy cow! He's so smart, funny, and creative. He's kind and a genuinely sincere kid. But, none of these adjectives comes close to describing what it's like to join him in his world and glimpse things through his eyes. It's a trip, and it's also the best ride of my life.

And, the thing that makes it all better is that we are slowly but surely figuring out how to make autism manageable for us, for him. There are still days when the stims, the anxieties, and the social/sensory stuff just totally quash our good vibe, but we are figuring it out. And, more importantly, Sky is figuring it out. He's learning to see all the awesome in himself and share it with others. He's learning how to track with the rest of us, and It. Is. So. Much. Fun.

Yesterday, we went into the Hallmark shop where we discovered the newest collection of Christmas ornaments. Much to the chagrin of the woman working behind the counter, we tried out most of them. I was particularly fond of the Brady Bunch ornament (in case you're wondering, it plays the whole entire theme song). Sky was interested in the newest Star Wars offerings. If I buy one, it will be the Cantina Band ornament. It will most definitely not be this one:

Go ahead, click on the link. Trust me. You'll be sorry if you don't.

When we listened to this in the store (after looking for the darn button for about 5 minutes--hint, it's on Vader's left), it seemed to be turned up to the-whole-store-can-hear-it volume level. At another time and in another place, Sky would've freaked out when I pushed the button to stop the ornament short, saying, "Wow. I can't imagine an ornament with more Christmas spirit."

Instead of freaking out, though, he laughed and walked out of the store grinning. No meltdowns. No resistance. Just good-natured ribbing.

On the way to the car, I said: "It's like saying, oops. I killed the woman I love. Merry Christmas!"

He joined me on my riff, "Or, someone ate all the Christmas cookies. Nooooooooooooooooo!"

"Yeah," I agreed. "Nothing says Happy Holidays like death and destruction!"

We're in a sweet spot.  Sky's coming into his own. He's figuring it out. He's understanding jokes. He's learning to read people's non-verbal cues. He getting better at keeping his sensory-driven impulses under control. Sure, he still has to work hard, and it's not always easy. But to me he's  perfect--a perfect, perfect 10.

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

Happy birthday, Sky!