Recently my most wonderful friend, my soul sister, a Mommy who really “gets it,” wrote on her facebook wall about cupcakes. She made gorgeous vanilla cupcakes filled with raspberry jam, topped with hats of luscious pink frosting, for a Valentine’s day party at her son’s school. A totally typical thing for a mommy of a five and a half year old boy heading off to a class party to do. Any other day I would have glossed over a status update about class party cupcakes, lumping it into the category of “have a lots of errands to run,” or “drinking my morning coffee,” or “putting the kid in the pack n play so I can vacuum my house.” You know, those updates that you want to kick yourself for reading, wasting your precious time, the ones that cause you to vehemently vow that you will only type witty little ditties behind your full name. Here’s the thing, baking those cupcakes for that specific reason wasn’t typical for her, or for him, and I knew that.
Because like my boy, her boy has Autism too.
And up until that Valentine’s day class party her son didn’t really understand holiday celebrations, didn’t “get it” as she put it on facebook. Class parties are something that other moms may complain about, “oh crap, I have to make cupcakes/cookies/brownies for the class party/birthday celebration.” While that may not be you, dear reader, I’ve read some similar statements as status updates from moms of typical kids, always causing me to think “if you only knew…” Us mommies of kids with needs know how it feels to wish for the typical experience. To be a “finger quote” normal mom. To make cupcakes, to have a child excited for a class party, and for that to be the norm, ho hum, an everyday activity.
I went out to lunch with this dear friend the other day. We can fill up hours talking, switching subjects, going off on tangents before coming back to the finish off a thought. She makes me laugh, and to my delight, she gets my sense of humor, even finds me humorous! We discussed this glorious cupcake moment, her status update, and the way it felt to, in her words, “savor the moment.”
To savor the typical.
I’ve been doing a lot of savoring this week as the Roc has talked my ear off, not all of it making sense as he valiantly tries to explain something to me. His language is coming along and he tries so hard. He even asks me, “does that make sense Mommy?” and I almost always tell him “yes.” He likes to retell something I’ve explained to him, and I hear myself when he speaks; so I have an idea of what he is grasping, and just how much is sliding over his head. The “wh” questions have begun to pour forth. “Where is the water going?” “Why do dogs bark?” “What is that little boy’s name?” “Who are you talking to on the phone?” “When” questions have yet to appear, but I see them on the horizon. I never tire of these questions, I’ve waited so long to answer them. His eye contact has increased, and he holds my gaze much longer than he did a year ago, and boy do I love looking into those big blue eyes. Last night he trilled “watch me mommy!” as he bounced a big ball on the floor and then caught it, ever so proud. GC nudged me and I stopped in my tracks, our eyes locked, savoring the sound of “watch me!” He begs for me to sleep in his room at night, and tries to stall bedtime like any other kid, telling me “it’s too scary in here,” and tugging at my heart with, “but I’ll be lonely in here without you.” Oh yes, I’m savoring the manipulation. What might exasperate other mothers makes me smile every night. The sound of his little voice as he sings songs from school while in the bath at night, every night I hear this, and every night I smile. His voice, gosh I love to hear his voice.
Then I got the following email from the special ed teacher yesterday while waiting for the bus to deliver the Roc from school:
“Hi there! Had a crazy afternoon so I didn’t get a chance to write in his book. He had an AWESOME day! He literally came in smiling!!!!! It was soooo cute.. I asked him for a hug and he said “No!” so I told him I was sad. Two other girls came up and said “I will give you a hug” and before I could look at him, he was standing right next to me waiting to give me one! It was soo cute, like he felt bad that I didn’t get a hug from him! So cute, he was just on all day, answering questions, participating, etc. I hope he continues to do that at home too 🙂 Have a good night!
and I savored the moment, reading about a good day, a day where he just may have been indistinguishable from his peers.
I thought about my good friend, about all of this savoring, and about how as she started to get comments on her “cupcake baking” status she added this:
“Autism certainly causes you to never take anything for granted. Seriously, I poured the whole of my motherhood into those cupcakes today. Baked with love and thankfulness for a child who is progressing far beyond my wildest imagination. Deep life lessons found in cupcakes… I’m just so happy I could cry.”
And my eyes filled with tears.
Nope, we never take anything for granted, especially those totally typical things.