I have thought about writing this post for quite some time. Something always stops me. Sometimes, it’s just the phone ringing, or the baby grabbing at my leg. Mostly, it’s something inside myself that makes me stop and change my mind. It’s not time yet, I’m not ready. Even still, as I type this, I’m not sure I’ll click that button and publish. But here goes.
I know this little boy. He is sweet and gentle. He is happy and calm and content, as any 4 year old can be, most of the time. He is handsome, he has the biggest brown eyes and longest lashes you could ever imagine, and when he stares into your face with them you can’t help but smile. He has trouble listening to some loud noises, like my mixer, so when I bake a cake I have to hand mix or do it when he’s not around. He doesn’t like the vacuum cleaner or the coffee grinder, so he goes in his room until I’m done. Sometimes when he’s frustrated he just cries, he can’t really explain what the problem is. He talks to me. Tells me what he wants and what he doesn’t want. He knows the words happy, sad, mad and scared, but doesn’t always know how to explain when he is feeling them. He loves the alphabet, can remember almost any song after hearing it just once, and is pointing to words in the street that he has stored in his amazing memory. He touches my nose and says, “M-O-M.” I love this boy with every ounce of myself. He is my middle child, my first boy.
Christopher is in an Early Childhood classroom, Intensive Language is what they call it. He goes to school every day, all day, and has since he turned three. He is receiving wonderful services, and is growing and learning every day. He surprises me constantly with things he can do. Nobody has actually told us that Christopher has Autism, but my gut tells me he’s somewhere on the spectrum. He has some of the typical behaviors, sensory integration problems, language delays. We can’t say for sure. We talk about having another evaluation done to see what they say, but what will it change, really? Will his school program change, no. There are kids with Autism in his classroom. Will it change who he is in my eyes, absolutely not. But I would like an explanation, if that’s what you can call it. I would like to explain the reason he has these issues, and not have to say that he has some speech delays and motor delays and sensory integration issues, as if I’m in some sort of denial. I’m not. I never have been. I have trusted my gut with this boy since he was a baby. I have known there was something. Even after everyone said, “oh, he’s a boy, they take a bit longer.” Even after people reminded me of my tendency toward hypochondriasis. I know I’m neurotic and paranoid. But I knew. He’s in the classroom he’s in because I didn’t wait. I didn’t wait and see if he would grow out of it. So I struggle with whether or not I put him though more evaluations, just so I can explain his behaviors. I see the blessings that I have in my life. Christoher has two siblings that will be able to help him if he needs it. They’ll probably teach him things that I can’t. I know that he is a smart boy. Really, smart. And kind and wonderful and sweet and beautiful. But it’s still hard. It’s hard to see other kids his age and younger grow and do things that he doesn’t, speak the way he cannot. And I don’t know how he feels about all of this at all. Sometimes it makes me sad, sometimes it makes me so mad I want to scream. But this little guy also brings me so much joy and makes me so very proud. So how much of this is about him and how much is about me. I can’t answer that for sure. I just know that I’m his mom, and I want the very best for him. Just as all mothers do.
So, I bring this all up and out of myself because this woman that I know but don’t know, Ali, has a boy who is very much like my Christopher. So much that I read about him and think they are so alike it’s scary. But not so scary. Because Ali’s little boy has Autism. And he’s beautiful and wonderful and kind and sweet and smart. Just like my boy. And she’s taking action. She has raised over $20,000 for Autism Speaks. And has nearly 1,000 people who have pledged to Autism Speaks through this
So that’s why I think it’s time. Time to speak up. If you are one of the few, the proud, the readers of my humble blog, please do what you can.