Today a friend took Estelle to Adventureland – an amusement park in Des Moines. I am SO thankful for friends like that – friends that understand the challenges we face.
So, I had a lunch date.
A lunch date with my boy, Tucker.
A lunch date with Tucker at Pizza Ranch.
We sometimes refer to it as ‘Sauce Ranch’ because he slathers pizza sauce on everything. I think it’s because it has the winning sweet, spicy, salty combination (Day #286 – Salsa, Chocolate, Pickles, and Chips).
Today’s post is less about autism and more about being a mom.
As I sat across from this boy I fought back tears.
When did he lose his baby face?
When did he become a young man?
When did he stop calling me mama?
When did he stop needing his face to be wiped?
When did he stop needing me to help him go back to the buffet?
I think this often with my children, but today was different. Today was very real and very hard and I’m not real sure why. It was just one of those moments.
I looked out the window trying to think of anything that would stop my eyes from filling with the salty goodness of sadness. It was useless. A tear fell. He asked what was wrong and I told him I itched my eye and got some salt in it. He laughed and asked if I needed a wet rag because he’d get me one.
That didn’t help, but it did make me laugh.
I’m in tears…at lunchtime at Pizza Ranch.
Most mothers have a special relationship with their children. I would argue that having a child with some extra stuff going on makes our connection that much more intense. It’s so intense because we are constantly learning more, advocating more, and being more proactive.
Today I realized that I’ve been so busy learning, advocating, and being proactive that I may have forgotten to pay attention to more today’s. I guess all of us have. I know mothers older than me warned me about this phenomenon…the ‘it’s over before you know it’ phenomenon.
I’ve often said that we need to have children when we retire – that way we are more likely to be money secure AND have the time. I wouldn’t have to worry so much about working to pay bills and I could spend my time just being a parent. It’s a bit backwards, really – which is why (at least I hear) being a grandparent is amazing.
I need the clock to stop. At least on days like today.
Days when the fact that my boy has become a young man is just all too real.