The Little Family

I will be the first one to admit the the past is a nice place to visit but not to stay. Unfortunately, I was guilty in looking back when it was too little and too late.

We were now a family of five and the jokes about going from a man to man defense to a zone were getting really old. As matter of fact, the world of Autism had zero defense. There was no scheme that could prepare us for what we were embarking on. Rubin island was no picnic.

I remember picking Sawyer up at the after school program that he attended. There were kids his age. They were running around on the playground. I saw the excitement in their eyes that they were outdoors. I heard the laughter of climbing structures. I felt childhood like I expected it to be.

I had it before. I lived it. I breathed it. I lost it.

It was gone as I looked for Sawyer. I just hoped he would be a part of the action. I wanted to walk onto the playground and feel the past in the present. I wanted it for me.

There he was though. All by himself. It was like a hermit in exile. There was no laughter either. All I could see was someone different than the rest. It wasn’t fair.

What was fair? Was it fair that I wanted Sawyer to experience the childhood that his brother and sister had? Was it fair that he was perfectly content swinging while I wasn’t?

Our little family had grown up but it was me who needed to also.

How do I(we) fit in?

Going to school like every other kid wasn’t a promise with Autism. Even with Sawyer’s progress entering the school year in the fall of 2015, we weren’t sure how it would all play out. Yes, he had a back pack, a lunchbox, and got on the bus (short bus!) but was this just the second round of school or was this wishful thinking that he could close some gaps?

Were we delaying the inevitable with another year of preschool? Would he continue to show progress?

It was nerve wracking early on. Knowing that he was at a program that provided him services was certainly comforting but I didn’t know if it would work. I didn’t know if we would get a phone call requesting us to come in nor did I know if he was making the necessary progress that would lead him to kindergarten.

Essentially, we had 10 months. Would he be ready to join his peers?

It was a huge concern of mine. I so badly wanted Sawyer to have a chance. It wasn’t about friends, it wasn’t about learning, it was just about having a chance to grow up in an environment with kids his own age.

Was it wishful thinking? I didn’t think so. For whatever reason, my eyes made me a believer as I was doing everything possible to make myself think that Sawyer was changing.

This was the biggest obstacle of being a parent of a child with special needs. I just wanted Sawyer to belong even though I had zero clue what belonging even meant.

Did I want it for him or did I want it for me? Was my ideas about being accepted my own or what I thought they should be?

I didn’t have a handle how I, he, or we could fit in and how to make sense of it. It was a dark place and my articulation of my thoughts went silent at times.

It was humbling to realize that I was searching for something that I may never see.