Last night, my son got out of the shower, dressed himself and then headed to the kitchen and said, “See?” I smiled, clapped & hugged. “I see. Good job!” Another day he wanted to show me that autism doesn’t mean all is lost. It’s a challenging climb but never one where he will succumb to defeat. I wrote about Callie’s first shower experience three years ago. You always hear that nothing compares to your first. . .whatever your first may be. But for Callie, his 3rd, his 20th, his 100th shower are all firsts. The feeling of accomplishment is there every time. . . .and for me – this treasure is fresh in my memory, engraved on my soul & wrapped around my heart. . .always.
I just watched my son take a shower and dry off. My Dad (a personal hero of mine) said “This is the day”. . ..and the day ended with overcoming a heap of stubbornness, fear & routine. This accomplishment usually derived at an early age probably will ponder the thoughts of why so long. We don’t live in a world where the milestones usually are met at the typical time. That ship sailed a long time ago. So we wake up each day to the simplicities of life. This means something small achieved is equivalent to something enormous achieved, like your 10 year old son having no desire to shower but would rather soak for 20 minutes in a bathtub that is obviously too small for him and has been content until now. That is a BIG deal! For the many who face similar situations, they get it. They may feel my relief & celebrate OR this may be a knock at their door of hope that has been long closed. In any case, this is Callie’s golden hour and we’re breaking out the party hats, whistles, cake & ice cream.
It was a proud moment for him. He knew he had done something significant. . . .something to be proud of. He couldn’t help smiling and showing Mom & Dad that he could do a Big Boy thing that would make his parents’ hearts swell with delight. My heart smiled but I sobbed. I always knew it was in him but I think I was too afraid to really pursue it. I didn’t want to disrupt his life of being complacent. I knew at some point he needed to dredge the waters but I kept thinking “Maybe tomorrow.” Tomorrow would soon turn into a boy who was my height and weighed more than me. Yes, too big for baths. But sometimes it takes someone on the outside to come & shake things up a bit. . .and that was my Dad. Where I saw a boy, he was seeing the beginning stages of a man.
I learned that circling Callie with my fears won’t help him grow. I was limiting him to a bathtub because he seemed ok. Plus I felt it would be another challenge, and frankly, we had already faced enough so far. One less challenge to put off & schedule for another date didn’t appear to be harmful but indeed, it was. I was the hindrance and his opportunity to do more each day was pushed further away to the back where I had hoped no one would see, at least for right now. But timing is everything. God knew PaPa would be the one to come and see. . . .and in an instant take action & change our today & our tomorrow.
I am soooo proud of Callie. It’s a moment worth watching over and over, and in my eyes, it’s deserving of an Academy Award of some sort. He achieved something tremendous. . . .something spectacular. . . .something so phenomenal that there aren’t enough words in a Webster’s dictionary to describe. I am writer but in this moment, I am beyond words.