Sunday, August 5, 2012

Reclaiming a childhood

We are moving

I am going through all of R’s old toys – sorting out the things we want to keep and the things we want to donate

I and my friends have talked about how painful this can be

For you are not really sorting through things, as much as you are sorting through the different versions of you when you bought those things

All those earlier incarnations of you with the different hopes and fears of each stage

The blocks that gave way to the flash cards

Then the pretend play sets

The endless flashcards

And all those things from super duper inc

I tried to do a sorting out a couple of years ago – but had to stop

Today, thankfully, it does not hurt

Time has healed so much

Autism has become our normal and R our perfect whole complete child .

I think of one of the worst things about the early years of parenting an autistic child is that you get robbed of the joy of having a little one

This precious time wasted away with worry and anxiety !!!

( this is the most important reason I keep wanting to help new parents be more hopeful and positive and staying in the present )

We develop eyes that see everything through the lens of pathology

Everything a trait of autism, all gifts as splinter skills

But one of the gifts of acceptance is how I can even look back at that time and think about all the light and sweetness that was and is R

I smile at the tattered "my first numbers book"( one of many first numbers book ) - how he would stare at the page that said "7" with the 7 brightly colored balls

Once it was a memory of autism –now it’s just a memory of something my little guy loved

So what if that Thomas Train Sets ,main attraction remained the number that was on them etc and were never quite played with in the typical ways

So what if stuffed toys meant nothing, while foam numbers meant everything

That is just what he liked and who he is

Our thoughts are powerful

With our thoughts not only do we create our present ,but we also create our past

For like the present, the past is also an interpretation

And now, when I look at old pictures –I don’t see a child with special needs and a mother with special pain

I just see a small fat cute child ..a mother that loves

In this way, a lovely babyhood is reclaimed

This post is written for Hopeful Parents at


Þorgerður said...

Many hugs too you.
That is a adorably sweet picture of you two.

JAMR said...

I have been so lax in following and offering my support. I am so happy for you for this upcoming change, and am confident that your loving care and support of your family will make the transition smooth for all of you (as smooth as possible). Good luck, and I look forward to reading all about this new venture!

Lizbeth said...

Sorting through old toys is so hard---it brings back so many memories. We have one book, Raindrop Plop, I won't give away for anything. We read that book every night for countless evenings. Still makes me smile.

Deb said...

This is so absolutely beautiful. I love how I can read your writing and feel myself heal as well. I too have gone through my son's toys and for a time it was painful. I only saw the things I wanted him to play with but didn't. This has slowly eased over time. Thanks for sharing!

rupa said...

Hi k,

Very beautiful photo and beautifully son was late diagnosis at 4...I missed the early intervention.I curse myself for wasting time.But on the other hand I lstill am glad I did not treat him autistic.Being my first child everything he did I captured in my camera and in my heart as "cute things".everything looked normal until i was told what is called stimming,blah,blah, whole perspective changed.

Your blog reminds me to appreciate and love my son as he is..without a label.

Keep writing.if you get a chance to come to California,come meet me.


Bright Side of Life said...

Loved this post, K. I know that we lost precious time due to worry and anxiety... I try to tell myself that it was a learning curve, all part of the process! I have kept all of Nick's old toys and we now have them at school.... for everyone to use.

Yuji said...

Love this!!!!!

SoCo mom said...

Love this from the heart. How wonderful to find these memories as you pass old familiar things along.

Best wishes to you all for the move.

Valerie Foley said...

I love this.
I love that you remind me that we can choose to hold the painful part of the memory in the front, or we can just let it be.

Good luck with the move!

robin said...

It's so hard to imagine you guys picking up and moving across the country like that! When I think of where you live, I picture a backyard with a trampoline, your neighborhood that you walk and your lovely cabin. I hold in my mind the pictures of your life that you've shared with us that makes me think I am going to miss all that too. guys have moved from across the whole world so going across the country may not be such a big step as I think it would be, lol! I can't wait to hear about all your new adventures!

You have said before that you want to expose R to new things (trips, adventures, different routines etc) and I'm thinking that he will be just fine and adapt very well. As long as he has his numbers and your loving arms!

Good luck packing, moving and letting go...

Looking for Blue Sky said...

Perfect timing for me to read this as I was looking at Smiley's dolls house today and wondering whether or not to keep it .. will she ever play with again? I don't know. Hope the move is going well xx

kathleen said...

If I haven't told you before..I adore your writing..sadly, it seems that I never have enough time to come and read as much as I would like..your way with words is exquisite..really
"Once it was a memory of autism –now it’s just a memory of something my little guy loved"
Loved that! xo

Stories Untold said...

Some tears, some smiles, and some very validating nodding is how I react to your post. Coincidentally just two days ago I too discovered some of A's old videos (much before the symptoms emerged) where is singing whole songs in a very funny way, and I realized how precious this journey of being mother to a child like ours is. Every victory is a ceremony, every milestone achieved is like a blessing from God and every struggle looks minimal when you see your child for what he really is.
R is a very precious child, and you a fantastic mom, an inspiration to all moms figuring it out in the Autism world.

I agree after a while Autism becomes a way of life and our children the perfect whole complete child.

Congratulations for reclaiming a very precious childhood.
All the best for the shifting, may it be smooth.

Anonymous said...

so beautiful. :)

danette said...

Love this post (and that picture of you and R is precious)! Sorting through old toys usually makes me tear up at some point (in a good way, dh teases me but I'm sentimental)... it's funny how some of the books and toys are still almost like new because they rarely used them, but then others are well-worn (well-loved!) and hold such significance because they meant a lot to one or more of my boys. Like Bitty's stack of DVD's which we still have... some were hardly ever actually watched but they are scratched beyond repair from being carried around, lined up, and sorted through all the time :).

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