Sometimes, moments of normalcy, as transparent as breathing, are the greatest gifts.
Prior to our autism diagnosis, one of the major tip offs that something wasn’t quite right in Ayden’s, development was his lack of pointing to objects and asking us questions about them. He didn’t really ever go through the “wassat? wassat?” stage. You know, the one that seems so adorably cute until it just doesn’t stop for months at time, and you think you’re going to go crazy answering so many questions – the same stage that you miss the moment it stops with such frequency.
None of that was happening. We kept waiting for it to happen. But, there just wasn’t any pointing to things to verify their name or asking for an explanation on objects or people. It was as though those things, or people, were mere props in his world. He saw them.. but he didn’t see them. He’d hear them.. if a plane flew over, he’d glance up to the sky, willing the clouds to part so he could see the noisemaker, and I would tell him it was a plane, but he would hardly react, and would ultimately go on with his day, seemingly unimpressed by labels. I would wish for him to ask. Wish for him to look to me for answers. Wish for him to want to know. And, I wondered if he ever would.
The other day, while leaving the gym, Ayden began pointing all around him and asking for verification, as he often does these days, . It sounds something like this: “That’s a.. “, pointing at an object, waiting for an answer. “That’s a…” pointing to another object, after he gets, and is satisfied, with the answer I’ve given him on his first inquiry, prior to waiting for the next answer. He’d point.. I’d answer.. sometimes he’d dispute my answer.. we’d argue mockingly, with two to three word sentences, he’d point again.. I’d answer.. You get the point. This continued on for a time.. But, with a sudden gasp, I realized that I’d missed it. I hadn’t really given it much thought, because conversations have started to flow together, but there it was.. My son, who I constantly watch for signs of progress, met a milestone that I’d been dying for him to meet, and honestly, I’m not at all sure what the exact day was that he met it.
Normally, my feelings on missing something that important would be quite different, but I wasn’t sad or guilt-ridden; No, quite the contrary.. I was excited, because I knew I hadn’t really missed it.. I’d been there in real time and I’d been part of it.. like breathing. It was the most odd, but amazing, realization to come to. I was elated. I was ecstatic and grateful and so appreciative.. he met the milestone that I’d forgotten even was a milestone, but more importantly, we’ve reached a point in our lives where sometimes, reaching milestones, is as commonplace as breathing. And.. in that moment.. I’ve never felt more blessed.