You Made My Day

Sharing a memory from my Autism Journal (December 2012):

Every morning when I walk down the long hallway of Peter’s school, headed for his classroom with him holding my hand, he makes his loud “happy noises.”  He loves school and skips and hops in his own clumsy way in his excitement to get to his classroom.  Sometimes I wish he would be a little quieter, because we get puzzled looks from the older school children who pass by in the hallway.  They don’t understand why he makes those noises.  And every morning, Peter looks into every classroom we pass and smiles.

One particular teacher always steps into the hallway and says, “I hear Peter coming.  Good morning, Peter!  How are you today?  I’ll see you at lunchtime!”  This morning she called out to me after we passed by:

“Ms. Kane?”

I turned around.  “Yes?”

“I just want you to know that Peter always makes my morning.”

Wow.  That really made MY morning, and I don’t even know her name!

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Lessons Learned on a Sunday

No matter how much I think I “know” my son, he continues to baffle me.  Yesterday, on what should have been a peaceful Sunday afternoon, I learned two important lessons:

Lesson #1: No More Naps!

Since Peter was sick on Friday and seemed a little run down, I thought it would be a great idea to let him have some “rest time.”  This consists of me taking a power nap in his room while Peter plays with toys, quietly, on the bed.  Well, he fell asleep.  I let him rest for about 2 hours.

I regretted that decision at 1 am when he was still wide awake and tossing noisy toys around his room!

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A Day of Firsts… and Lasts?

Son #1: First Day of College

 

Yesterday was a Very Big Day.  Our oldest son, Christopher, moved into his dormitory at the University of South Carolina.  It was a whirlwind of activity: fighting traffic, finding a parking spot, lugging tons of stuff up twelve flights of stairs to avoid the lines at the elevators, cleaning the dorm room (ugh), decorating, sorting, etc.  When we (the parents) were told (by the son) that we really didn’t need to hang out in the dorm all day, we took a deep breath and said our good-byes.  First-born son.  In college.  Sob!

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A Life Free of Hatred 

When it seems as though the world will burn itself into oblivion with hatred and bigotry, I look at my son and think, “Thank God he doesn’t know.” 

He doesn’t know that citizens of our own country can turn against one another in an instant, like wild animals.  He doesn’t know violence. He doesn’t know evil.  He doesn’t know racism, prejudice, discrimination. 

He is not aware that these blights on our society exist. 

I turn away from the horrifying media images and look at him. A perfect, innocent soul incapable of hatred. 

He may never be aware. He may never know. 

And today, I thank God for that. 

Are We Having Fun Yet?

“Come on, Peter!  This is supposed to be fun!”  These are phrases I find myself saying often.  Very often.  This past weekend I tried my best to do “fun” things with Peter, to get him out of the house and away from his iPad.  On Saturday, my sister was visiting so we went to a nearby state park to play in this adorable Splash Pad:

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I first had to convince Peter that it was okay to enter the gate.  Mind you, we’d been there before!  It took another ten minutes for Peter to get near the water, then another ten until he seemed to be having a bit of fun:

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By then I was hot and sweaty, so when Peter sat himself on a bench a short time later and tried to put on his shoes, I was fine with leaving.

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Just Keep Spinning: The Sensory Seeker

Can you imagine riding a roller coaster in endless loops and never getting dizzy?  Or participating in the Dizzy Bat Race at a baseball game and not stumbling around like a drunken sailor?  Or riding the carousel at the State Fair for hours and never feeling sick?  That’s Peter.  It sounds crazy, I know, but it’s true.  Peter does not get dizzy.

When Peter was three years old we took him to an Occupational Therapist (OT) in Hartsville, S.C. who was well-known in the area for her expertise in sensory issues.  We had known for awhile that Peter had “sensory problems” but we not certain what that meant.  The autism stereotype brings to mind those individuals who shy away from sensory input such as lights and sounds and movement.  Peter did not seem to fit that stereotype; in fact, he seemed to be just the opposite by seeking out sensory input rather than shying away from it.  We were right.

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I Dreamed That You Could Speak

Dear Peter,

“I love you, Mommy,” you said to me in a voice of crystal melody.  Oh, the joy!  To hear your childlike voice, to hear you say “Mommy” for the very first time!  I was overwhelmed.  I awoke with tears in my eyes and a sob in my throat.

Then I realized.  A dream.

Joy can turn to loss in an instant.

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Autism Sibling Essay

Our oldest son will be heading off to college in the fall.  “In the fall” sounds like a long way away, but when I look at the calendar I gulp.  That’s only a month away!  How could 18 years have flown by so quickly?

Christopher is an amazing person.  He has achieved so much in his young life, but I fear that he is sometimes forgotten amidst the overwhelming demands of his youngest sibling.  I am reassured, though, when I read the following essay that he wrote for a scholarship contest.  His writing shows a depth of understanding that is rare, as well as a tendency towards compassion and acceptance.  He gets it.  We are super proud of him.


I never thought that I would say that my 8 year old brother who flaps his arms wildly and screeches when he’s excited but screams bloody murder when he’s mad would have had such an immense impact on my life, but here we are. May 14, 2009 was the day my life changed completely. Peter was born, and was diagnosed with autism not long after. When I heard that Peter was autistic, I was confused, and scared. At the time, I didn’t know what to expect. Before that point, I hadn’t really had any experience with anyone with any type of disorder, and I definitely didn’t realize how it would affect me.

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A New Family Member: Goddess of Wisdom

A few months ago, in a moment of lunacy, I caved. I finally agreed to something I’d been adamantly against for years. I would never do it. It wouldn’t happen. Even though I told my oldest son when he was 5 that it would happen when he was 10, I knew in my heart that it wasn’t likely. Now he is 18. And it finally happened.

We got a dog.

Continue reading “A New Family Member: Goddess of Wisdom”

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