Today Autism kicked my arse. Exhaustion has set in and I can’t formulate the words I need to properly explain how testing it has been. I will soon – I promise – but for now, let me rewind and take you back to yesterday so that I can express feelings of love and not hate. Happy instead of sad. Excitement instead of fear.
Yesterday I took Sawyer to the disco birthday party of one of his school friends. Not having formed strong bonds with any children in his class, birthday party invitations this year have sadly been few and far between. This isn’t anyone’s fault and it isn’t something Sawyer notices or worries about yet, but it is a big fat elephant in the room, and one that I’d like to expose for transparency. Birthday parties are often difficult for
me Sawyer. Excited children quite rightly bounce around like pinballs, making the room hot and the noise-level high. With this particular party being a disco, we went well prepared with ear defenders, a drink, and lots of forewarning of how the party was likely to be.
Sawyer and I strolled in the sunshine to the party, whilst he talked incessantly about Mario and Luigi. As we approached the hall, he could hear the music and asked me if he could wear his ear-defenders, which I helped him to put on. At first he was afraid to enter the main room, which was dark with lights flashing and rotating as you would expect from any good disco. Sawyer followed me in to the room and quickly requested that we sit in the corner for a while and ‘chair dance’. I perfected the Bum-On-Chair-Tango and was half way through the Bummambo when he looked up at me and said “Mummy, I don’t like the noise and I’d really like to go home”. I don’t think I’ve ever been more proud of a human being than in that moment. He tried. He tried, he acknowledged, and he managed to calmly instruct me that he would like to leave a situation that he was finding uncomfortable.
As we stood to leave, I explained to the Mum of the party (Party Mum, if you will) and she was incredibly understanding of our situation. With a genuine look of concern on her face, she said something that, although seems simple, very few people think to say. She simply asked me if there was anything she could do to help. That’s it. Just one simple line that to me, meant everything. One simple line that made my weekend better. One simple line that made me realise that Sawyer will be just fine, because although he faces many obstacles, there will always be people who want to help.
This post is dedicated not only to Party Mum, but also to everyone in our lives who shows kindness and understanding toward Sawyer and our situation. Your support makes days like today easier to cope with, and it gives me hope for the future.
20 minutes after arriving at the party, Sawyer and I strolled back home. And as he rifled through his party bag with a big grin on his face he broke my heart for the millionth time.
“That was the best party ever”, he said.