It has been a very big, busy week. Tonight, I sit alone as everyone sleeps in bed, after pulling out the vaccuum to clean up glass that shattered from one end of the house to the other as Kaeden dropped his bowl on his way to bed. As he started to defend himself and explain what happened, I quietly told him that it was an accident. A simple accident and accidents happen and he doesn't need to explain. Though I become quite stressed in the face of messes and broken objects, never have I chastised my kids when it's an accident. There is no reason to feel guilt for something that just happened. But it stopped me for a moment, his nervous explanation, wondering why he was so concerned when he's never gotten in trouble for something like that. And I considered all the things that break in his presence, all the things he breaks in anger, and it made me realize that he feels the need to explain to come to terms with what has happened. So often he has to explain his acts, so often it wasn't accidental, so often he has to defend himself...this time, I hugged him tight (he let me) and told him quietly that it was okay. I could feel him relax under my arms, his body soften, his breath escape. It made me feel good to be holding him at that moment, realize how much stress he holds inside, how my simple gesture allowed him to just....breathe. I need to remember, try to be patient, allow him to relax. My son just looked at me and answered "Yeah." So simple. So free.

I also discussed something I was sincerely worried about discussing with him. He had off of school today and we sat and talked about our summer vacation plans. I signed him up for a kids vacation camp with one of his friends from school, and he was so excited as he told me about all the fun stuff he'll get to do. I love knowing he has finally discovered true friendship in life. This young man he has befriended, and who has befriended Kaeden, has already managed to work his way into my heart. I appreciate him, allowing Kaeden the chance to have and be a friend. Both of them are so deserving of each other.

Anyway, I booked plane tickets this week for a vacation home. Just for Jari and Mama. I was worried about Kaeden's reaction to this bit of news. He thrives on being with Gramma and Grampa and going back to America. He loves retelling stories of his time there, remembering so much from our life before Papa and Jari, where he lived and what we did. I was afraid I was setting myself up for a very disappointed kid, but he proved me wrong. Initially, I saw his look of disappointment cross his face. He looked down and away, but immediately gave me full eye contact as he asked when we would go. He asked about the logistics, who would take care of him, when he would stay at school, how he would get there. When I told him he would have a full week of vacation with Papa, the look that crossed his face was one of sheer fascination. His smile was bright as he said "Me and Papa can finally have some time to do fun stuff alone!" He continued to tell me that it's been a long time (2 years) since Jari has seen gramma and grampa, and repeated in his own words all the reasons I told him Jari needed a chance to go to America this time around. And he was okay with it all. He was completely and totally okay with my decision. I had absolutely no need to worry, he just accepted that this is how it is, and yeah, I'm gonna have a good summer too.

I am so proud of him. Two years ago I couldn't have fathomed him accepting something like this happily, let alone without having a major meltdown. Today, he took the news with a smile on his face, happy for time alone with Papa, happy Jari gets to see his grandparents, happy he gets to go to summer camp with Sacha. I couldn't help but be a bit shell-shocked, but as we shared a piece of cake and cappuccino, I really felt like my son is beginning to grow up. He's coming to terms with how life works, and learning to accept disappointments as well as excitement. I'm not saying everything is perfect, we still have a long ways to go, but these first little glimpses into my son as a man ahve me feeling proud. So proud of all he has achieved, proud of what a giving person he is becoming. Through it all, I must have done something right. Because the young man I spent today with is exactly the young man I have always dreamed he would turn out to be.

In addition, parent teacher conferences were this week and his report card was terrifically filled with good grades. And even better, his behavior for the time being seems to be at a lull, and he hasn't had any threatening outbursts as of late. His one meltdown resulted in him leaving the school building and taking a walk to the animal park on campus. These are the exact tools we have been trying to teach him for years. When the going gets tough, remove yourself from the situation and when you are able, come back and try again. And his finally achieving this, leaving without reacting in violence, is something that makes my heart swell a thousand times. Again, I don't have high expectations, but the fact he was able to do this is just so huge...and I know he can do it again. It's just these little things that show me of his growth, of the possibilities he has contained within, despite his autism.

My little boy is growing up. It makes my heart thump with happiness.


Breigh said...

What a beautiful post. Your entries often make me almost cry, but in a good way. So glad he's taken this with grace and is making it easier for you. I hope you have a great time on your holiday, and that he enjoys camp to the fullest! Having gone to camp a lot when I was a kid, it's such a great experience. Especially when going with a good friend :D

Tanya @ TeenAutism said...

"the young man I spent today with is exactly the young man I have always dreamed he would turn out to be" - oh, Tera, this brings tears of joy to my eyes, especially since I have lately been feeling the same way about Nigel. So happy for you! And so happy that Kaeden has a good friend. That is worth so much. Sending love!