Saturday, February 13, 2010

Never Never Land

Today I took my Rooster on a little date, a little mother-son time at the park. Only he had his eye on other girls the whole time. Had he been anyone else, I might have taken offense. Instead, I pretty well enjoyed being thrown over for a cutie named Abbie.

So I park myself on a bench after a while near another mom and a couple as Roo and Abbie and some other new-found friends run, climb, slide. It isn't clear to me which parents go with which children, and I must be just as anonymous, as suddenly all adults look up when they hear a loud five-year-old proclaim, "Come with me! I will take you to Never Never Land where we will never get old!" Off they fly as the "old" audience chuckles, myself included. The nearest mom looks at me, smiling. "That little boy? You heard him? Cute! So cute!" My boy and I don't share much family resemblance; we both have wild curls, but of opposite colors and lengths to be sure. "That's my little boy," I say, beaming. "My Peter Pan!"

I can't remember the last time I spent a substantial chunk of time with my son (or even talking about my son) when the word autism did not come up. We stayed at the park for two and a half hours, though, and I never felt the need to say it, imply it, or really contemplate it much. Sure, he probably stood out in some ways at times, both favorable and not, but he also managed his emotions, enjoyed himself, and socialized. I don't hate the word autism, but I enjoyed a break from needing it in my vocabulary today.

When Abbie's parents told her to say goodbye, she did so reluctantly. She wanted to keep playing. He, however, nearly melted down --- he didn't just want to play, he wanted Abbie. "No! She can't go! She needs to stay!" he told me. "I need to play with Abbie forever!" I knew that this could unravel, but I also knew how far my son has come thanks to his ABA program "When Things Don't Go My Way." I took a deep breath, summoned all my patience, and explained that I understood his sadness, but that I knew he could keep calm and talk to me about it instead of throwing a tantrum.

And. He. Did. He took my hand, negotiated with me for a cheer-up lemonade, and told me how bad it feels if someone leaves when you want them to stay and play forever. "FOR. EVER," he repeated for emphasis. I told him I understood EXACTLY how he felt, because I've wanted people to stay with me forever too, and sometimes they couldn't. But, I told him, "For now, at least you have me."

I don't know that my boy enjoyed the time he spent with me as much as I enjoyed him, but at least he got my completely undivided attention. Ironically, I think the time he spent checking out younger girls was my favorite part of our little date.


pixiemama said...

Oh, that Rooster is a charmer, I can tell you first hand.

I know exactly how he feels - fun feels so good that you just want to stay and revel in it FOR. EVER.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful!!! This makes me absolutely sigh with happiness for you and your boy...

Mama said...

This post really made me smile. Way to go Rooster!

Anonymous said...

kristen took the words right out of my mouth. pure joy.