It’s been about 14 months since I initially contacted First Steps in February of 2012. I know I am still a newbie with much to learn, but I feel like such a different person than I was a year ago. Things were so scary and dark for a time. I was stressed, overwhelmed, confused. After I got answers and therapists started coming in weekly, I thought things would be better, and in many ways they were, but this was also when sadness, grief, guilt, and sometimes anger reigned. I sometimes believe that two of the worst times in life for a parent of a special needs child are when they don’t know what is going on, and when they find out what is going on.
This weekend, we went to the park. We stayed 2 hours. My older daughter, who has SPD, ran and played just like all the other children. Little toddlers my son’s age climbed and crawled and went down the slide. My son, who has sensory issues and has been diagnosed on the spectrum, spent just about the entire time pacing the paths, collecting twigs, and throwing them into various holes, mainly the recycler and a tube on the jungle gym. Last week at another park, it was wood chips, sorting and throwing, nonstop.
A year ago, this would have made me cry. I would have been reminded about how different he was from his neuro-typical peers. Honestly, it did remind me, but not with a heavy heart. This is my boy. At home, we try to push him out of his comfort zone and encourage him to interact with us more. I let him engage in his soothing world of repetition for a while, and then pull him back out. But you know what? While he was pacing about collecting sticks, he was smiling. He laughed. He was in the sunshine and fresh air, around people, with his family. He was happy. We were happy.
Bud is not too aware of his surroundings. He constantly cuts people off and trips them up, cutting through a group as if they are not there. That is because many times, they are not there to him because he is so focused on his task. Perseverance I believe is the technical term for it. But its OK, because he does other things now, too. I see his strengths, his growth, his unique personality. I used to be so scared that I focused too much on his deficits for a time, and that is a shame. I do not beat myself up for that as it is the path many of us take as we come to terms with our sensational children and the new life journey before us.
I read a quote one day that said something like do not let fear of the future rob you of the joy of the moment. They are only little once, sensational or not, and I am so blessed to have worked through much of the darkness and came through to the other side. I know there are still difficulties ahead. As Bud turns 3 this fall and transitions into the school system, a whole new set of obstacles await us. The future is still uncertain. Right now, though, I have an adorable 2 year old that brings so much joy into my life it is ridiculous. His laugh melts me and his milestones make my heart burst. When he shoves my hand away because he does not want me to touch him, it endears him to me rather than saddens me as it once did. That’s my boy. Everything about him, that’s my boy.