I wrote this after our family went to a large event recently. These scenarios are often overwhelming for our oldest who has autism. He’s come so far in how he deals with these overstimulating environments, though he’s not always able to remain this calm. In this particular moment, he only needed to sit in the middle of the floor and have me join him in his world while he sorted out all the chaos. On this particular day, I was able to observe more and watch as he worked through those big emotions. It can be easy for me to focus on the negatives that autism brings and go into problem solving mode, but my favorite moments ever are the ones when he reminds me just how truly amazing it can be to look at the world through his eyes. The world needs more of the childlike wonder at the sight of a really big puddle to splash in, more dancing in the rain, more awe at the fleeting and elusive magic in the colors of a rainbow.
I sat on the ground in the middle of a crowd today. I sat on the ground in the middle of the people shuffling around. In the middle of the stares that used to bother me, but are now just a brief observation made out of the corner of my eye. The ones thinly veiled with quick sidelong glances. The ones not veiled at all. Some filled with confusion, concern, and others with a tint of judgement.
You see, I sat in his world today. My son’s. Or at least the best I could. I noticed all the noises. I noticed all the movement. I used my body to shield his smaller one the best I could from it all. I searched my mind for how I could ease this for him. I felt the pain as I came up short of anything other than holding him close while we both waited for the rain to clear.
Today, it was a soft rain in the middle of a sunny day. It came and went relatively quietly. Today, there was no thunder, no bursts of lightning. There were no gusts of wind knocking us to the ground. I breathed a sigh of relief as the clouds parted, making way for sunshine again.
Today, I climbed back off of the floor and walked into the sunshine with him. The crowd around us, none the wiser, save a few observers. I could still feel the dampness of the rain sticking as we walked. But he splashed in the puddles and smiled at me, like the rain was meant for play.
Today I danced in the rain with him. I splashed through the puddles and let the sun reflect off the droplets left behind. See, while I worried about how to clear the rain, and wished for sunnier skies, my son saw the rainbows and how the rain makes the flowers grow. He saw that the sun shines so much brighter after it breaks through the clouds. Today my son taught me that the rain was meant for play and it rarely ever stays.