The Gravy

52 Week Writing Challenge

When I think about autism and I think about what’s to come, I think about the gravy. The gravy is that extra special added addition to your meal. When Owen makes a connection, sings a new song or says “I wuv ewe” that’s the gravy.

Some days are filled with question after question after question and emotion after emotion after emotion; then all of a sudden it’s like boom, the words start flowing and the magic happens. I wait for those times, those moments. The smallest of steps is the biggest of victories.

Owen has a long memory. I have often said he does things or say things when he feels like it. I have thought about this, observed him and I think it is more about when he processes something then he can respond. He has to learn the response and put it in action. This process could take awhile, a few hours, a few days or even months.

Every day over a couple months as Owen and I would approach our house I would say “hi hippo” to the little statue we have on our porch, hoping that he would say my words. After awhile I stopped saying it. Moved on, maybe, or maybe thought he wasn’t getting what I was saying. Six months later as we were walking up the stairs Owen said “hi hippo” as plain as could be. I rejoice, I celebrated, I processed, I cried, but most of all I started realizing he hears all, he has to process it and then the words will follow.

This has happened on many other occasions since that day. I try to pay more attention to where his words are coming from. He will learn words from the different apps he plays with, his teacher, his family and even things he hears along the way. I notice some days he tries out the words to see how they sound, then he will start saying them more often. Sometimes the words or sentences he says don’t always correspond with what he needs to say, but you see that he is trying, that there is a connection.

His body is becoming more familiar to him, as well. He is figuring out how to move, sing and do things all at the same time. Like with the song Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes, he actually did the dance, pointed to all the parts, sometimes pointing to mine and singing the words. This is the gravy. This is what I am waiting for.

Autism is not what I imagined. Autism to me is more emotional, I’m always trying to stay one step ahead of the next step. My stress level goes up in down every day. When I think we are at the point that we’ve got this I seem to get set back to being on edge, waiting for the next shoe to drop. I think that’s why the gravy is so important. Everything else keeps you in that holding pattern of happiness and rollercoaster rides, but the gravy keeps you pushing forward.

Autism is this journey that we are on. It’s not easy. It’s very emotional. It’s the hardest thing I have ever dealt with, because I see my little boy that is so smart, but yet he can’t alway find the words. I ache for him, for me, for the things that should have been, but every day Owen smiles that little smile says those new words and my heart rejoices. The gravy!

Autism wasn’t important to me, until autism was important to me.

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