Sometimes I don’t realize just how important something is to me until he accomplishes it, and then the flood overtakes me.
I was a hyperlexic toddler. I learned words and how to read, but I didn’t really have to be “taught.” I just understood. And the more I understood the faster I learned. And the more I read.
My father bought me a Grey’s Anatomy for my 10th birthday as a joke – or not – because I’d read all the books in his 100 classics collection and needed something new to read.
I’m surrounded by stacks and stacks and stacks of books.
Fiction, non-fiction, educational, medical, poetry.
And in the irony of the parent-child dynamic that is “us” My Boy doesn’t understand letters and even worse, he doesn’t CARE about them.
Words are often meaningless.
Arbitrary beyond the inherent arbitrary nature of words.
They are vague, unknown things. Letters are pointless. Writing torture.
He hasn’t mastered singing “ABC’s” yet, although sometimes to please me he will try.
I think of all the parents who wish their children were athletes or ballerinas or musicians or liked Thai food – just because they do.
I think how we parents want our kiddos to share the pieces of us that we cherish most.
And how disappointed we are when it doesn’t happen.
And we autism parents often, in an even deeper way, have disappointments about the things our kiddos can’t or won’t do and – the hardest – may never do.
And that’s where I am with reading.
I am prepping myself that not only may he not enjoy or want to read, he might not be able to.
And if he does learn to read one day (yes, he’s still young) then it may be a challenge for him. Too hard to enjoy. Too hard to come easily.
These pieces of his brain that he just can’t quite seem to access may be so tightly locked up that reading a book may be years away.
And then I face the reality that he becomes not just different from me, but my opposite.
In one of the ways I most identify as a part of who I am as a person.
And it’s hard.
And most of the time my thoughts skip around these ideas like rocks on a summer lake until today Grandma and a surprise bribe and a new letter game and a calm day and a hop and a wink brews up the perfect storm – and he does the activity.
And the hopes and fears pour out of me so fast it’s as if I’m standing in the middle of a flood.
A flood of resistant behavior and dyslexia and dysgraphia and visual discrimination and visual tracking and fine motor and motivation and comprehension and auditory processing and phonemic and phonetic awareness.
I know I’m not going to drown in it.
I know the flood isn’t going to take me down.
But I’d be lying if I said that feeling the water rise didn’t make me panic.
Oh, the days when joy triggers fear.
Aren’t they something.
Pic of my Boy’s stamp activity.
All caps completed.
Which is 26 direct tasks.
Which is pretty much surreal.
And no, it isn’t just about me.
It’s about us.
And doing this together.
And Grandma. Because she’s the one he did it for 😉