Thursday, May 31, 2012

A child is born

Both families rush to divvy up the parts.

He looks like Tony. He looks like me. He has my mother’s nose. Our first joint production, we want a piece of ourselves reflected. Maybe we are proud. Maybe we want to ensure our immortality. It is a time of elation; everything is perfect and anything is possible. He will be the child of all children.

As he grows and changes, new assessments take place. He has my big hair, my easy smile. No one argues Tony’s unmistakable eyebrows. We find an owner for the parts we can’t quite figure. Are the sturdy hands and wrists from my grandmother or Tony’s father?  He is attributed with my even temperament and Tony’s focus and fondness for routines. 

As time passes I note he doesn’t like to sleep. He gets that from Tony, my mother-in-law proclaims. Sometimes he doesn’t respond to his name and drifts to another world; you were like that as a child, my mother mentions. And Tony and I turned OK. I am briefly reassured. Still, nagging questions are subtly asked; I sense his perfection is in jeopardy.

When did I first hear the word autism? I don’t recall exactly. The inquires begin: who did it come from? How did it happen? No one lines up to lay claim to the autistic features.   

But the fact is I see us there as well: my distaste for noise and people cluttered rooms, my need for solitary space, my fascination with color. I see Tony’s compulsiveness and his gift for numbers. I see his sensory cravings as Sam attacks the fierce waves of an open ocean. I see my temperament when Sam finally looses it on a long, rough day.

We are part of what made him all of him, even the autism. We lay claim to it all. And in doing so, find the joy in who he is.    

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  1. i LOVE this. thank you so much for sharing. it is our story too.

  2. Thank you. It is our story collectively, isn't it? Your delight in your children is evident in each word you write; the reason I was hooked on Diary of a Mom from the very first day I happened upon it.