In the still of morning, the sun joins us a little earlier each day. Before we know it, spring has come into full bloom. When looking around you can see the celebration of its beauty. All things are new. The air is fresh. No longer crisp, the winds are softer against our faces.
Tiny, delicate stems make their way through the earth and strain to soak in the warmth. Beginnings abound. Flowers color the landscape. Puffy white clouds dot the sky.
Spring brings so much hope and beauty. That is why I love it so. Even the sweet, young voice of my son knows it is spring. “Wanna draw flowers with mommy.” “I want the baseball machine.” Ah, yes, spring.
Every spring, I feel is a time for reflection on the past and beginning anew. So many things have happened to change my life in the past year. My son’s diagnosis. My mother’s near death and return home as a different and changed person. My growing distance from practicing law as I used to do.
I have become more of a caregiver and less of a crusader in some ways, and less of a caregiver and more of a crusader in others. My family has assumed a prominence in my life that far outweighs the care I can bestow on strangers seeking legal advice upon which I once thrived. I can, no longer, crusade for causes in which I still believe because I must give my heart and soul to fighting for those causes inherent in the well being of my mother and my son.
My world, though, has not been turned upside down. In fact, I believe honestly, it has been right-sided up. I’ve mentioned before that I am not a young mother. Those of you who know me, know that is true. All my life I’ve been on the stage of my career. Front and center. Arguing to a jury or judge. Righting wrongs of others.
I was hollow inside. A mere framework for the person I longed to be. That person was a mama. I worked hard to get to motherhood. It did not come easy. I have not yet done a birth post. Suffice it to say, that the day my son was born, I was informed that if he was not born right then, I would die and in that aura of emergency he came into the world.
And yet, I would change nothing. My son has autism. He is different from other children but he is no less. He is not mentally challenged. He is cognitively advanced for his age. He is sensitive about sounds and words, colors and temperatures. He simultaneously reads beyond his years and struggles to put together a sentence when he speaks.
The struggles he has with speech and communication may be difficult for others but not for those who know him best. For a select few, he will reach out for a hand, outstretch his arms and ask to be picked up. He will sing and dance, laugh and cry, teach and learn, express anger and love. So, for those who know and love my son, the love is returned a thousandfold over.
Looking back on his young, hard-working life so far, spring is a chance to put away the annoyances I feel at some of his behaviors. It is a time to look ahead and help him to prepare for the next chapters in our lives. There is so much for which we should be grateful. The therapists who have come into our lives and the knowledge to be able to enable my child to flourish in the best environment possible for him.
There is a lot of ugly in the world to combat. There are stereotypes and ignorance, bullying and lies. Life can be hard for anyone. A million times harder for those who have to fight to overcome disadvantages from disabilities as well. Someday, the innocence that is so much a part of my son now may be lost in the sea of a disconcerting world. Part of planning and looking to the future involves looking for ways to combat and protect that innocence while educating and preparing as well.
Spring brings an end to illnesses that plague us through the winter. It brings us fresh air. Longer days. More time to share stories and give praise. To lay under a tree in the shade and watch the clouds. To share a fresh peach. To watch a sunset. To learn together. It’s a good time to realize growing up keeps happening all our lives, even when we are old moms, carrying for older moms and young children.
“If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people.”
Thich Nhat Hanh