Mother’s Day Under the Sea
Mother’s Day is one of my favorite days of the year. In the past, I’ve forced my husband to get me a corsage for Sunday morning and off we’d go to chuch in our Sunday best. Life has changed significantly in the past year. This year for Mother’s Day we went out to eat on Saturday, so as to avoid the crowds and waiting in line with a four year old who is (to say the least) impatient and easily stimulated by large crowds and lots of noise. We spent Sunday at home with my parents and had pizza and cake (two of Noah’s favorites) for dinner.
It was a beautiful, sunny day outside and my dad and I decided to take Noah out for a walk with his brand new tricycle that he had gotten from the Easter Bunny. So, out we went, along the sidewalks that wind around my parents’ condo complex. We took a moment to stop at the gazebo that’s next to the drain-off pond on the property, a hot spot for walks that my dad and Noah used to take during the summer that my dad was retired. Dad and I were chatting and Noah was running around the gazebo in circles. I noticed him creeping toward the edge of the gazebo, which fired up my mommy-radar. Sure enough two seconds later, he was off like a shot toward the water.
I immediately made chase, yelling “Stop!” and “Wait for Mommy!” but to no avail. Noah was so focused on getting into that water that he blocked me out entirely. He neither turned around to look nor slowed down in the least. I came close to him and lunged, missing by only inches. I quickly steadied myself and continued my chase, only to watch him run directly into the water. It was as I reached the waters edge that I thought I saw his head go under and I immediated dove in after him and pushed him up, his weight forcing me under the stinking, murky water. I felt my favorite pair of sunglasses fall from my head as I popped back up to the surface and passed Noah to my dad, who was now only a few steps behind us, waist deep in the pond. He was safe.
My dad laid him on the grassy shore as I heaved myself out of the water, losing a shoe in the process. I was stunned. I was not quite crying, wanting to hold him to my chest and yell at him at the same time, soaked with stinky water and covered in mud. We began the trek back to my parents’ condo, which seemed twice as long as it had on the way there. I intermittently cried over the fear of losing him and huffed at the disgustingness of the muck we were both covered in. Noah walked happily on, holding my hand as if nothing had happened.
It was truly a wakeful,leq? up call for me. Noah had been doing so much better at listening. Last summer we had to be right on top of him at the park because he wouldn’t come when called, but this year was a totally different story. When I called out to him he stopped and waited for me. However, when faced with the enticement of water or swimming, I was no comparison. Furthermore, the event, which was completely traumatizing to me was nothing to him. He wasn’t afraid that he could have drowned nor did he seem to realize that anyone else was upset, either. No fear. No concept outside of himself. Autism at its finest.
Its taken me a long time to write about this. I really had to think things through. I don’t have an answer or resolution. Just a story of one of the frustrating aspects of parenting a child on the autism spectrum. We’re working on it.