This weekend we went to Chattanooga for a visit with some close friends.
These are such dear friends and we have been known each other for a while
And yet I was a little nervous before leaving.
One of these friends has a daughter the exact same age as R- we went into labor at almost the same time
Sometimes meeting neurotypical children is a bit of a shock -
Especially when you have a child like R whose expressive speech is so severely limited
But these friends are have such open hearts for us ( with all our differences )that R is folded into this group completely and naturally
Many people say that when they enter into the special needs world - friendships die
For us however it seems like the good friendships have become stronger and the weak friendships have faded ( not ended .. just faded away )
As though Autism was kind of a filter that separated the wheat from the chaff
We planned best as we could - with written schedules etc
I braced myself for a shot of reality- for my bubble to burst
But all my fears are unfounded as R is an angel
Interested in everything
Well mannered and charming, affectionate and sweet
Here is R with his birthday friend E
E's mum whispers in my ear - your son has better manners than my daughter ( her daughter is a complete darling and a perfect doll but her casual compliment is music to my ears )
Really she is too wonderful and makes it a point to compliment R on all his special gifts -his reading etc
The trip starts really well as - the Creative kids museum is PARADISE for autistic children - filled with things to touch and feel
Water play, Magnets, Musical Instruments
We have dinner at Sticky Fingers and R is just awesome there as well- eating his Chicken Fingers with gusto
Sitting quietly in his chair ( only needing 1 or 2 bribes of Dum Dums ) and coloring ( poorly)
Then we go back to the hotel
The day has been so tiring that I am sure that R will burst into tears when we go out again
But here the power of the written schedule comes into being .. where its clearly written that the last thing on the list is Christmas lights
He simply LOVES Christmas lights. And he is ecstatic at the entrance of Rock City to see the giant Star
There is LOADS of walking inside but he has a blast
Unexpectedly-He even sits on Santa's lap
It seems this fifth year ( which BTW is supposed to be end of all developmental leaps ) in fact is showing promises of good things to come
Its the season of gratitude
My heart just brims with it
For friends who have stayed true and strong in spite of the road that life has taken us on
For wonderful friendships that we have found because of this journey
For a marriage that challenges have strengthened
For a child that continues to blossom well beyond what "Early intervention" folks would have us believe
This journey into special needs land is settling into an an unusual place.
A place of acceptance
An acceptance, that I once thought meant giving up
But which I now see as a lovely place of grace
A state of mind , a way of being, that is both charmed and practical
This is my new normal
And its a good place to be
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