Milestone

Everywhere I go there is a clock. From my Fitbit, to my phone, to my Apple Watch, to my car, to even the gym that has them scattered in every nook. Some of these clocks are in sync and others are just a little off. In theory, a few seconds or minutes doesn’t really alter my day but I’m aware of it. For Sawyer, it’s just one clock and it only matters to what time he wants it to be.

Time matters to every family in the morning. Especially when you’re aware of what needs to happen to ensure everyone gets to where they need to be.

Sawyer’s schedule is his own. He comes upstairs, has breakfast, watches a show, gets dressed, brushes his teeth, and waits by the front door to watch for his bus. It seems simple as my description of it is so bland. Bland as I can sum up his routine in a narrative without punctuation. However, I can leave out the reminders, the redirection, the meltdowns, and perseveration over simplistic things.

For the record, the aforementioned isn’t just Autism. All of my kids have some sort of mayhem before heading out the door.

Nevertheless, we are in the now as two years ago we weren’t. Independence was a pipe dream. Trust me, Sawyer wasn’t going to his room, picking out his clothes and making a bagel with cream cheese back then. He also wasn’t getting a Keurig hot chocolate capsule out of the pantry, loading it up, waiting it for the be complete, putting ice cubes in it, and drinking it at the kitchen table. This wasn’t anywhere near my radar.

It also wasn’t on my radar when he came home jumping up and down that he got a invitation to a classmates birthday party.

I had tears roll down my eyes. I only dreamed of that excitement for him because I never truly know how he is welcomed amongst his peers. I hear stories that sound wonderful but stories and proof are two different animals.

The thing is that this was a boy at age 2 who wasn’t walking. He was hardly speaking. His smile was the only milestone that I could only see or hold to.

It didn’t matter that we had two other children who could seemly reach the moon. Sawyer wasn’t and that’s all I could see. That was my clock and I prayed that it could stop so he could catch up.

So today, we celebrate another milestone. We celebrate an invitation of a birthday party to attend. We celebrate that a clock may tell time but each one is different if you allow yourself to see it.

The prince of routine

Some may define structure as a plan or an organization strategy that is consistent. Though I agree with the definition, I find it difficult to implement it in a concrete form at times for Sawyer. The thing is, his type of structure is very black and white and as he is getting older, it can change without a narrative that has any rhyme or reason to it.

Living with Sawyer has certainly taught me that whatever I think I know about what he needs tends me to discover more questions than answers.

I do know the basics right now. He likes to do EVERYTHING by himself. He wants to pick his own clothes. He wants to fill the tub. He wants get his own water. He needs to open the door for anyone who comes to it. And most of all, he needs things to go his own way. If not, the ripples of his distaste are felt throughout the household.

Sometimes this is cute. Sometimes it’s charming. Sometimes it’s maddening. The thing is that Sawyer needs to learn that Sawyer isn’t the only one in a house or in the world.

From the outside, many see how much he has changed. I agree. However, as much I do celebrate his growth, I still want him to learn. I mean there is a huge difference of cuteness of running towards the refrigerator to slam it shut at near 7 years old between the possibly of doing the same thing at age 12.

It’s these social parts to him that I do worry about. I don’t want his world to crumble for the day if his pencil breaks at school, which could cause him the fear of using a pencil for 2 months or more.

Now this hasn’t happened but as Sawyer gets older, it could.

So for now, the prince continues to be consistent. However, the prince’s father searches for ways to add flexibility and understanding to his routine. It’s a never ending adjustment that redefines the structure for all.

Dear 2018

Sawyer,

Many spend hours upon hours creating their New Years resolutions. The range of what these new goals come from is about as predictable as your reaction to when the WiFi goes out. Everyone is just that different and in being different, I find more ways to relate to you. This is one of the gifts you have given me as I no longer crave for you to be anything but who you are.

I think I learned this in 2017. It wasn’t until I saw you with your peers on stage for your kindergarten graduation. You were so cute in your suspenders and bow tie. Even if someone didn’t know you, they would know that you were someone just from your presence. You just put a lot of smiles on people that day.

What a day that was. I finally found myself closing my eyes and feeling calm. If it was a movie, the camera would have pulled away from my expression and some sort of happy melody would have played in the background. Or the credits would roll with the text of a lighthearted epilogue.

The great thing is that this isn’t a movie. This is reality. I got to see you change in ways that I didn’t anticipate in 2017.

You gave me moments of conversation even though it wasn’t daily. It happened. It’s there inside you and nobody can take that away from you and nobody can take that from us.

You showed an interest in having play dates. Even when it happened, you had a tough time playing but you tried!

I even heard rumors that they are working with you on tying your shoes at school? Incredible!

So 2018 is here, Sawyer. I don’t know what I want as my resolution. It took me 365 days to really understand what I wanted in 2017.

Just know that I promise to learn with you and love you, your brother, sister and mother with all of my being in 2018.

It’s because of you that I’m understanding how important each year truly is.

I love you,

Daddy