Sunday, 15 April 2012
It was a busy Saturday Morning, with the rush to at least attend a local Autism Society 5k walk/run fundraising event.
Short Stack and I turned the corner into this park that we frequent, and his routine is to run and be on the swings and playground.
However, due to the event, and the lovely weather, we weren't able to park where we normally do. We had to drive past our usual spot - past the hill that locally is called a mountain. The crowds aren't a big deal to him, as we go to various busy stores - so he's pretty used to that noise.
Now with a 'mountain' between the swings and our parking spot - we had to walk a little to make it there.
Short Stack kept repeating the words, "go swing?" of which I responded regularly, "Go swing, Buddy".
The event location was just on the other side of the 'mountain' and to the left of our destination. I wanted to visit with other parents and those who put the event together. I also thought it'd be good if Short Stack was exposed to more kids like him.
But - he wanted to 'go swing' - so we did that first.
We hung out at the swings and play area for awhile, and Short Stack had some good fun. I even met other parents of children on the spectrum. It's nice to hang out with other parents that understand. It's a sense of relief when you don't get the odd stare or have to explain your child to others.
The screaming and meltdowns and hand-flapping are normal to us folks.
No meltdown for Short Stack either - as his squeals were just moments of joy.
After the swinging, we walked over to the area where the event was being hosted. Saw Short Stack's doctor there as well - as he's actively involved in the Autism community as well.
The great thing about speaking with other parents is hearing their stories.
Kind of like reading people who blog on Autisable - I learn so much about the family dynamic and how it's changed due to Autism.
A common theme for Parents in the Autism community is dealing with spouses or family members that are in a stage of denial regarding the child's Autism. This theme coincided with another theme - that of loneliness and parenting a child with Autism.
The conversations were all good, and encouraging to me. And from what I could tell, encouraging to the parents that I was talking with at the time.
Short Stack was ready to go, and so was I. The Saturday morning was a bit chilly, and the wind was picking up a little - even though it was clear skies.
Rather than going around the 'mountain', Short Stack wanted to walk up the mountain. Of course his level of vocabulary is limited - he pointed and said, 'That way'.
It was enough for me, and we walked up this 'mountain' - well, at least half way. Then Short Stack sat down and turned around, looking at the view of half the park with a lake.
He told me, 'down please' - and I sat next to him.
We sat for a few minutes as we took in the scenery. He played with the grass on the hill, and just enjoyed the moment.
He turned around and looked at me, a look which somehow reminded me that he was glad we were there together.
After a few minutes I got up, and he slowly crawled up the hill. This took about 40 minutes - as he was a little afraid of the new height, we crawled hands and knees and on our bellies all the way to the top of the hill. Walking up the hill usually would take only about 5 minutes. Me crawling on hands and knees? well, let's just hope no one recorded it and placed it on youtube....if so, my mom would love to see it. :)
Towards the end, reaching the top - he pushed through a potential meltdown, even when we reached the stairs on the other side of this 'mountain' and to the parking lot.
Once we reached the parking lot, and saw our car, he smiled and laughed - knowing that he conquered a fear for the day.
It's not often I have those moments where I can easily recognize my son past his Autism. But they are becoming more frequent.
He wants, he desires, he strives to overcome those 'mountains' in life.
He taught me on that Saturday that he's more than willing to push over any mountain - and it will be ok.
He showed me that he will be able to do it, with my help.
Not only did I feel important, I felt that moment again - that I am his Dad.