Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Celebrate the Small things!!

Many parents with typical kids take small things for granted every day. I used to be one of those parents too until Sam came along. I remember when my thinking changed. Sam was about 2 years old and we had started our search for schools for him. He was in Early Intervention and would age out at the age of 3. We knew we didn’t think our towns program was a good fit for him so we started our search across NJ to find a school for Sam. We were at a school that we really liked and they had brought us into their gym. There was a boy on a swing – he was 14 years old. They said his favorite thing to do was to swing on the swing. But he couldn’t do it himself. He needed to be pushed. He couldn’t understand how to make it swing by himself. That was when it hit me in the face, and it stung! All I kept thinking was here I am looking at this teenage boy and there was pure joy on his face when he was pushed on the swing. How they tried getting him to move his legs and such to do it himself but he wouldn’t, he couldn't! He just sat there upset. I felt terrible. Most typical parents put their kids on a swing and it’s no issue – they can just do it or they learn quickly to do it……But not parents like us. Most things are much harder for our kids.

Ever since that day I realized that every single step Sam takes is HUGE for him & us. I celebrate them all! Well I am going to share with you a step he took today! When we are going to be leaving the house to go somewhere I have a routine with Sam. I usually tell him about 15 minutes in advance that we are going in the car soon to go to wherever. If I have a picture of it I will show him where we are going. I then take him to the bathroom, get his socks out of his drawer, then I go to the closet and take out his shoes. I will tell him to sit on the couch and I put on his stuff. Well today I told him we were leaving soon to go to therapy and he ran out of the room. I heard some banging and saw him go running past the kitchen doorway. He plopped himself down on the couch. I walked over and saw what he did. He ran and got his own socks out the drawer and his sneakers from the closet and was trying to put them on himself. I never told him to go get them he did that all on his own. I was so proud of him!!!

I also wanted to say this – I know it wasn’t meant in a bad way but felt the need to address it so here I go. The other day I posted about a great moment when Sam and I had our first conversation. I had gotten several private messages from people saying they were sorry. Sorry Sam is like that and I have to deal with that. Please DON’T be sorry!! I am not sorry!! Autism doesn’t define Sam. I thank God every day for him – Autism or not he is a loving, caring, wonderful little boy and has much to offer the world. He has made me and so many others better people. He has taught me a new way of seeing the world. I appreciate so many more things now than I used to…and I take time to stop and smell the roses! I love Sam the way he IS!!