At His Christmas Concert, I Realized What I Truly Want for My Son With Autism

I’m grateful every day. Yes, me. Your eyes don’t deceive you. I’m grateful for every day of my sometimes miserable, sometimes wonderful, always beautiful existence on this place we call Earth.

It came to me last night. Lansdowne (our therapy joint) held an IBI Christmas concert. I was sitting in a metal folding chair with my younger daughter, Casey, waiting nervously for what I thought was going to be a crapshoot. Twelve children on the autism spectrum singing Christmas carols…

I was wrong.

It turned out to be an enormous wakeup call. In came the first group of teen/young adult carolers. I saw joy and gravity and incredible happiness in all their faces. I had no idea tears were falling from my eyes until I tasted them. (Get to know me better; I seem to cry a lot.)

This is what I want for my son, Timothy.

Peace and happiness. Only I hadn’t known it until that moment.

In they came. I was searching for him through the shoulders in front of me for a few minutes until I saw him come walking in with two therapists. They walked right out. I get it. It’s too much to sit there. Some smart cookies they are. A few minutes later he came back and was able to sit and jingle a little bell to the last song. I had to hold back my sobs — happy sobs. I was so damn proud of him. He didn’t know all the words, but that was the best freaking “Jingle Bells” I’d ever heard.

It was over before I knew it, and Santa was coming, and we were going. Timothy was done and trying to escape anywhere. Sensory overload had taken over. and he was spinning like a little tornado looking for his house, his sanctuary. I grabbed the other kids, and off we went.

This was a successful evening for us. We took a little detour and checked out the Christmas lights in the neighborhood before steering for home. He’s come such a long way in just a year.

I’m so grateful for every moment like this — a 6-year-old kid like him would have been in several concerts, assemblies or productions by now. Not him. But sitting for 30 seconds in a room full of people is a success. Following a three-word directive is success. Hell, peeing on the toilet with cueing is a success to me.

You see, the specials, as I call them, want what everyone else wants. To be happy. To be included. To be loved.

It’s my job as a mother to make sure my son can feel these things to the best of his ability. Maybe he won’t be able to, but I”ll sure as hell try.

All the best to you and yours this holiday season and in 2015.


This post originally appeared on The Book of Timothy.

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