Days and nights are difficult for me now. I won’t bore or depress you with details. Let’s just say I hate the hospital emergency room and leave it at that. I’ve seen way too much of it.
I have a “medication” for the stress, the fear, the sadness, the difficulty. My medication is my child. He is a joy, a smiling face, a dancer, a jokester. He has been entertaining himself a lot lately. We still do homework at night. We cuddle. We fight over combing the hair. He defies me. I reinforce my orders. He does evasive maneuvers. I try not to smile or laugh or give up in these showdowns.
He tells me he loves me every day. With everything else going on in my life, my son’s echolalia, the obsessive mantra over the planets and their moons, the screaming, the running to make it to the toilet, and the need for conformity in the completion of every step of our routine, all seem like a vacation.
Yes, I said that.
That’s how much “other” stress I’m under.
But truly, my little boy is a delight. He shines the light at the end of my tunnel. When I lose my way, I think of him. I look at his beautiful face. His smile. His eyes. His little hands, making a picture. His voice telling me he loves me.
The kindergarten has started a program where he must read a story every night to me. He reads it and I sign off that he has made it through. He read the word “dreadful” in the midst of the story the other night without skipping a beat. That was pretty amazing. I ask him questions about the stories we read. Sometimes, I have to ask a couple times. He answers appropriately about 60 percent of the time. The rest I have to prompt or teach him. I actually enjoy that time. I think he does too.
He is my future. And though I worry, and fret, I see happiness looking that direction. Happiness that is my pill to help me through the bitter night I am wading through waist deep.
His screaming that would fray my nerves? The endless toys that litter the floor? Delightful. All of those things are signs of life. Of budding, enjoyable, innocent, unconcerned-with-deep-loss, life. Nodding a head, in time with the beat of music, a twinkle in his eye, my son shows me there is and always will be lots of happiness ahead. Carefree wonder. He shows me that every hour of every day.
In every effort to help at the grocery store by pushing the cart. In every dance. In every laugh.
I won’t forget there can be happiness, even in the midst of heart-wrenching difficulty. Because to understand that, my friends, is a gift. And the hugs from my five year old boy, remind me of that just when I need it most.