Find a pair of shoes that tie. Untie them, set them beside you.
Humor me…just do it – this is an interactive post.
Yesterday was a tough day for Tucker. One of the most frustrating things about autism is that there are moments/days that you don’t know what is going on – but you know something isn’t ‘right.’ I just sent a message to his teachers letting them know – something just isn’t right. The most discouraging moments in my life are when I can’t figure it out, being his mother for 12 years gives me [probably] the most knowledge and history of his behavior and troubles. Today? Not so much. Yesterday? Not so much.
Was it that the schedule was funky all weekend? Probably.
Was it because the Christmas program was yesterday so his schedule was really thrown off? Probably.
Was it because he missed football because we had potluck after the program? Probably.
Was it because we went and got a tree? Probably.
Was it because we had to have a lengthy conversation about him being polite about things he doesn’t like (Ariana Grande, Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift)? Probably.
Was it because he didn’t eat his regular food at the potluck? Probably.
Was it because we took a selfie with the tree and he HATES selfies? Probably.
It was probably all of these things and more. I recently read a post by Autism Daddy (http://autism-daddy.blogspot.com/) where he calls ‘BS’ on those of us parents who ‘wouldn’t want our children any other way.’ Yeah – he’s probably right…and I was thinking about it this morning as Tucker was still struggling with life. Would I prefer he be ‘normal?’ When he struggles he gets argumentative, he gets belligerent, sometimes even downright rude. It’s a defense mechanism though, I know that. When he feels like he is losing control he tries to regain control by digging in and not giving in…Goosfraba.
Then, there is that moment. I’ve about had it….and my husband would tell you that I am, without a doubt, one of the most patient people alive (at least with children anyway). I’m about to lose it.
This morning I was wondering what I would write about – I have a list of topics/stories that I usually choose from but none of them seemed to be doing it for me. I was frustrated with him and with life. Then, there is that moment. I’m about to lose it.
Tucker sat down to tie his shoes. I watched. It was painful.
Go ahead and tie that shoe – time yourself in seconds. How many seconds does it take to tie your shoe? It takes me about 3. 3 seconds…
It takes Tucker 17. 17 seconds to tie one shoe.
My heart softened. I remembered this thing that he has…this thing that he lives with. I got up and hugged him, he resisted, I hugged harder and whispered I love you in his ear. He softened and hugged back.
I send my husband a text ‘It takes Tucker 17 second to tie one shoe.’ He called…
I started sobbing. Tucker has developed amazing coping skills, but there are days/moments where it’s just all too real. I couldn’t even get through what I needed to say. He stopped me and said, “You are the most amazing mother. Do you know why? Because he’s tying his shoes. That is the victory. You’ve said to him every day for the past 12 years of his life, ‘Tucker tie your shoes’ most days he doesn’t because of the struggles with his fine motor skills. He’s tying his shoe my love. He’s tying his shoes.”
Do I wish he was ‘normal?’ Maybe for him…but maybe his autism is about helping me to grow as a human and allowing me to appreciate all the small battles that we win. Living with autism is not a race or a marathon, it is a lifelong journey that binds us together.