"Illuminating just what you want to show..."

For a Monday, today was a pretty good day. Actually, it was a great day! It was one of those days that hit the sweet spot- therapy went well, we had a great day at the play ground, PJ napped well, and we all ate dinner together as a family. I felt like I was hitting all of my marks as a mama for once, no mistakes, no slip-ups. We got through therapy, we chatted as we walked to the playground, he made me proud when he shared his snack with a cute little girl. We made mulch snacks by the slides and used sticks as forks. There were many pee-pees on the potty and long stretches of dry Thomas the Train underpants. PJ napped and I cleaned the kitchen. Dinner was edible and I tucked a clean, well-fed, precious little dude into bed right at bedtime.

I am a pretty good mama most days, but today? Today I kicked ass.

PJ and I ventured over to the playground to meet up with some local parents who have a group on Facebook. It's used for communication about local events, shout-outs when someone needs a strolled/toddler bed/certain kind of something, and often, a way to gather up the troops to meet at the park. When I noticed someone ask if anyone wanted to meet up today, I was in!

I already had met Lori, one of the moms, before, when I had helped her in her search for an apartment in Collingswood. I had gotten to know her a bit through Facebook and  PJ and her daughter had even played together once before. As our kids played together, climbing the slides and flinging mulch, we started chatting a bit about PJ's therapy. Lori made note that, to her, it didn't look like there was anything "wrong" with PJ. As he smiled and laughed at her daughter, took turns sliding down the slides, pointed at things of interest ("BIKE! BYE BYE BIKE!" {ahemlawnmower})and sweetly shared the swings, it was hard to see any difference. Of course, I could see how he bounced along instead of walking (energetic to most, sensory-seeking to me), had spotty eye-contact, and didn't answer simple questions. He does struggle with those things, that's true, but the parents on the playground were also right. PJ is funny, brave, sweet and cute.

Lori asked me when PJ had begun therapy, and I thought back to a year ago when we were just starting out. When we first started this journey, I needed other people to look at PJ and see "normal". It countered the growing reality that something was not quite right to have others reassure me that PJ was smart, social, bright and funny. I wanted people to look at PJ and see normal, and that was all that would do. It wasn't okay to look at him and see anything else. Normal meant that this other thing wasn't happening.

Of course, autism did happened, has happened, is happening. It's around us always. Yet, at the same time, we're in a completely different place. When people compliment PJ, I am proud and happy and thankful for all of the things my baby is. PJ is a great climber, he shares his treats, gives big hugs, laughs a lot. He is sunny, funny, brave and bright. There are so many pieces to his puzzle, and autism is just one. I am trying to stop stressing over the bits and pieces and just look at the big picture as a whole. It's a lesson it took me a year to learn and one that, I imagine, I will be learning forever. It's all lesson-learning, this parenthood thing, no matter what pieces make up the puzzle that is your child.

1 comment

Jen said...

The whole picture...you are dead on right girl, and I am totally trying to internalize that. I think in the beginning it really is just incredibly hard not to focus on the things that aren't going right, even when there is so much that is!

I'm looking forward to the day I can let a lot of that stuff go and see the whole picture :) You're an example to me!