Winds [and] Change…

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It hasn’t been windy here in a long time.  Or at least, I haven’t noticed the wind.  Wind is a funny thing.  Have you ever tried to describe the rapid movement of air to a child, as wind?  What’s blowing?  Well, it’s air.  You can’t see it but it’s there and it’s moving.

It’s a beautiful day outside.  Sunny, bright.  Absent the bowing of a branch, you’d merely see a tree against bright blue sky.  But if you walked out there, you’d feel it.  You’d know it’s icy.

What’s that they say?  Winds of change, right?  It’s been four full days since I added some bright blue to my otherwise, nondescript hair, again.  It’s been blown all about.  Until someone makes a comment, I often forget, it’s there.  But the reminders come from strangers.  I cannot count them anymore.  They mention my hair and I impart the reason for it.

That part of my heart that is wrapped around autism is, like the wind, usually invisible to the outside world.  Now, the icy blue flecks of hair, the beautiful puzzle piece pendant I acquired, and my voice, work together to open my heart to all who comment or ask.

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I’d forgotten.

In a year, I’d forgotten the importance of my little corner of the world.  How abysmally self-centered of me to believe, even for a second, that the world does not need us to continue to spread the word of what autism is, how it affects our daily lives, what it’s like.  The potential for interest and understanding that awaits us opening our hearts is there if we let it be.

In the past year, I’d come to think I knew all the same people and that there were not enough “new” people in my life to justify continuing down the road of “awareness” but for consistency, for my son, I did it again.  I was so wrong about who knows what.

I have realized now, that I see an average of 20-25 people a day who are ‘new’ to me.  People at my coffee shop, at my son’s school, in my office, at the mall, buying a Happy Meal, getting gasoline, at the grocery store.  All of them start the conversation with my hair.  All have left those conversations knowing a little more about autism.  Knowing something new – what to look for – what’s different, the same – what’s available to diagnose, to aid, and how I have come to live the respect and love for a child with autism.

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I was sad when I last wrote here because we’re going through a period of change.  Change happens all the time for everyone.  It’s part of life.  Some appear to accept it easier than others.  Autism lends itself to a deep love of familiarity and routine.  It calms the nerves, lessens the anxiety.  For me too, routine is soothing and adding a little dose of blue to my hair would be change.  I need routine, to remember all I have to do for my son, to keep his meds in the right dose at the right time, to get him to bed so he’s not overtired, to wake him in time for school… don’t rock the boat.

But as time passes, change comes with growth.  Size 6 has become size 7, 12.5 shoes are now 13.5 or 1’s.  Yes, he’s gained about six pounds and grown over an inch and a quarter.  Medication were changed.  Finding the right fit in clothes for us also means finding the right fit of medication.

We’ve found both now.  The rather large chasm in the road has sealed itself, and we’ve walked right over it as though it was a mere bump along our path.

The most beautiful part of the view now is the detail with which my son is now seeing the world.

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Between his birth and two weeks ago, my son had not so much as ever mentioned a smell in his life.  You will see tons of old posts where I say he is “hyposensitive” to smell.  But now?  Yesterday, as we merged onto the freeway, behind a diesel truck, he said, “Something smells bad, Mommy!”  For the first time, I got to explain that the smell was diesel fuel.  Was he hyposensitive or was there a loss of connection between the smell and the communication of his perception of the smell?  Either way, it’s connecting now.  And that’s huge.

As we drove further down the road, he played with his “Wheels on the Bus” app on his iPad.  Yes, it is intended for smaller children and he’s nearly done with first grade.  And yes, it does drive me crazy.  (I find myself alone, humming it while washing dishes).  But then he described for me, yesterday, the “froggy-baker” (he hides under a chef’s hat) at the beginning of the app.  “It’s a blue frog and it has a king’s crown and little hearts all around his head.”  He’s seen it hundreds of times, but he’s never described it before, and never with detail, without prompting of any kind other than, “What color is froggy-baker?”

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He’s giving me sharper images.  It’s me that ends up learning.  I can see the branches bend as the wind blows, not just a picture of a tree and clear skies.

I think what I’ve learned, most of all in the last week, is that I’ll never be done learning and when I am?  It’ll be because I refused to open my eyes to the possibility of change.

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About solodialogue

I'm a lawyer and the mom of a 6 year old boy with autism. I work part time and spend the rest driving here and there and everywhere for my son's various therapies. Instead of trying cases, I now play Pac-man and watch SpongeBob. I wear old sweaters and jeans and always, always flat shoes to run after my son. Yeah, it's different but I wouldn't change it for anything. The love of my child is the most powerful, beautiful and rewarding aspect of my life.
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6 Responses to Winds [and] Change…

  1. Mom2MissK says:

    I hate change too, Karen. Hate it with a passion. With change comes struggle and I don’t like to struggle — no one does. And sometimes? During the struggle? You forget that the change is taking you someplace and that someplace may be even more wonderful than where you are now.

    Thank you for the reminder (and for the handsome photos of T). He continues to amaze me with his growth. We both are really blessed, aren’t we?

    • solodialogue says:

      Yes, we are! I understand about forgetting about the growth that comes with change. For me though, I think it’s more a loss of faith in the middle of change, thinking that this time- he won’t get past it- this one will be the insurmountable one. But (knock on wood) just when I am within that loss of faith – he always does something amazing – and there I am restored with belief, realizing that he is teaching me a lot of stuff- not the least of which is patience. That’s a tough one.

  2. Lisa says:

    Change is hard…even harder when our kid does are going through it and for whatever reason can’t explain what is going on with their emotions and physical reactions.
    However, once change is implemented, there is something so amazing when we know the change has pushed our kids…and us…to grow.
    So happy to hear that you and T have found the sun through the winds of change.

  3. Lizbeth says:

    I’m trying to get back on a routine myself. What do they say, “nothing is constant but change?” I’m not a big fan of that saying myself. I like my routines, my order and my little corner of the world. When it gets changed around it’s hard to recover.

    Thinking of you tons. I hope thing settle down and the winds of change calm down and settle.

  4. Cyn says:

    I love this ~ “The most beautiful part of the view now is the detail with which my son is now seeing the world.”

    Its funny I used to be the kind of person who loved change and embraced whimsy and just doing things for the “heck of it” but now my son has me clinging to routines as I try not to give into my rebellious tendencies;) But I find what gives me pause is just when I “think” I have things figured out…him figured out…WHAM…change but he is leading the charge. For me a few months ago it was stuttering just as he was starting to really speak. I was so worried thinking we were taking steps back and regressing right when we had made a break through. We rode out the storm but its not easy. *hugs*

  5. Lana Rush says:

    Every time I think I’m not afraid of change, something comes along and makes me realize I am. I know it’s inevitable and most often results in something positive, but man, when I’m in the heat of the moment, it can be difficult to remember. So proud of T – and you! xo

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