Problem Solving

Last week the boys had fall break from school. As is typical, we set out on a Halloween mini-vacation in a bungalow park for the week. This year, Kaeden happily chose to be with us from Friday-Monday, and return to his home away from home Tuesday-Friday. It was a good compromise, one in which we could all live with. It gave us family time, but also a relaxed break apart in a different setting. It was ideal.

However, Friday afternoon we started for Belgium after our week away, where we were to pick Kaeden up at his home away from home at 4pm. The usual 2 hour trip turned into a 4 hour one due to the numerous traffic jams, and you can imagine my fretting when I realized we weren't going to make it in time to collect Kaeden. I tried calling the home, but there was no answer. I tried calling a friend to see if she could pick him up, no answer. Kaeden's cell phone is having some mystery issues (I may discuss this in a separate email, but something to do with using his phone to make emergency calls, as everything is an emergency when it isn't his way...so his service was disconnected) so I couldn't contact him via phone. But, I tried to send a text message and it got through and he used the house phone to return my call.

"Mama, where are you?" he asked me. I told him we were stuck in traffic and had been for awhile. That I wasn't able to make it home on time to pick him up (knowing his home closes at 4). And then, just as I was about to offer my idea of a solution, he came up with one of his own (mine!).

"Mama, should I take the public bus home?" he asked me. "Then we could just meet at home."

When I heard him offer this solution so many feelings flooded throgh me. He managed to come up with this on his own. He found a solution to a problem. He called me to convey his idea. He can use public transport on his own. He is becoming independent. He is making me so proud!

I told him to have his caregivers look up bus times, though both Kaeden and I were sure there was a 4:20 pm bus direct to home. I then asked him to call me back to let me know if it would work out for sure.

The phone rang 5 minutes later. "Yep, mama, there is a 4:20 bus so I'll be home before 5." This coming from MY son! It still amazes me.

I relayed to him that if we weren't home by the time he was, to just wait in the backyard or play basketball until we get there. I told him he could feed the animals if he wanted. I didn't realize we'd be stuck in yet another traffic jam. We were.

I texted Kaeden to let him know, but he couldn't respond (seems he can receive texts, but can't send or call) so I hoped he recieved my message. As we got closer to home a good HOUR later, I texted him again. (Almost there, kiddo! Can't wait to see you!)

As we turned the corner to our house, a whole hour later that the arrival of his bus, and 2 hours later than when we thought we'd be home, I saw my son a scooter in his hands, a huge smile on his face, on the street corner. My heart leaped into my throat. There he was, my beautiful boy...rather, young man...independent, successful young man.

I got out of the car and hugged him tight, for that 2 seconds he would let me, bretahing in the smell of this new side of my son...this thinking, problem-solving person in my midst. And I looked to the sky and said a little prayer of thanks.


Jen (emeraldsunshine.org) said...

That's amazing, Tera!

Tanya @ TeenAutism said...

Tera, this is so wonderful to read! I'm just ecstatic for you - I know how huge this is, how hard we've worked (and will continue to) to help our sons be as independent and self-confident as possible, with all the obstacles that they face. Hugs and cheers!

hou said...

I was about to offer my idea of a solution, he came up with one of his own .
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