Don’t Stop Believing

I write this early on a Sunday morning. Nathan is here with me. It’s the end of vacation. It was a blur of working, kids, having fun, lots of Uno playing, rule reminding, etc.

I’ve been going back and forth between the ARC and the Y this week for vacation, so it was 6 days straight of working (but not all day each day). Nathan was able to have a good amount of time with me, but there were times when I wasn’t there. I like to be able to be there during vacation, but, I’m a working girl and Mom needs to bring home the bacon.

Yesterday, my good friend J.T. was able to watch Nathan while I went to the ARC for a couple of hours. This, to me, seems such a huge task to ask someone. J.T. takes it in stride. He says, “Please, we’ll go to the comic book store. It’ll be awesome!”

Of course, getting ready to go, it’s a Times Square like lights flashing in my brain, making me remember what I have to bring. I am a list & pile person. I make my list of things to take and put them in a pile in a place I will remember.

We manage to get everything done in record time and we are in the car on time, which is a miracle to me. We stop and get breakfast and then we arrive at J.T.’s house. In true Nathan fashion, he quickly takes off his shoes and makes himself very comfortable on J.T.’s couch.

As I’m getting ready to go, I start to do that “Mom Panic” mode, where I’m zipping through my mental check list, convinced I’ve forgotten something and am sure the world will end or tilt off it’s axis. J.T. gently reminds me, “Look at him. He’s completely fine. You go and we’ll see you later.”

The ARC goes well and then I leave to go and meet J.T. and Nathan at the predetermined location. (Sounds all Law & Order like, doesn’t it?)  Nate is reading a Simpsons comic book and J.T. reports that he was “as good as gold.”

I breathe a sigh of relief. We all know that sigh. The sigh you’ve been holding onto for hours, which is coupled with intense sweating. Alright, maybe that’s just me with the sweating. But I was thrilled to hear he wasn’t a rabid monkey hurling things and jumping all over the furniture.  I thanked J.T. profusely. He waved it off. “It was fantastic,” he gushed.

I ask Nate if he’s hungry, and he says yes. I manage to get him to a Chinese drestaurant. He’s not a sit down restaurant type kid, mostly because of the wait factor. However, we brought in the comic book, and he read to me about how the Simpsons were changing into zombies as we waiting for our lunch.

Lunch arrived and Nate dug in with his modified chopsticks. I ate a few bites of my lunch (salmon teriyaki) until I realized it was RAW in the middle. Yikes! I sent it back and it returned, nice and grilled as it should be. Nathan just ate, quietly. He struggled a little bit with the chopsticks, but I didn’t interfere. I waited for him to ask me for help, and he didn’t.

We finished lunch and I asked him if he wanted to get some crafty stuff. Paper, pens, markers, etc. He said yes. On the way to the craft store, I put in my new Glee CD, given to me by my friend Meredith (Thanks, M!) I was listening to the first song, “Don’t Stop Believing”, which is a righteous 80’s power ballad. I was singing and Nathan was, well, reading his comic book. He didn’t yell, “MOM! Stop singing!” or “MOM, song is BORING!”  I was amazed, but did not acknowledge the change in his normal behavior. I let us both be as we drove back up North.

We went to the mall and straight to AC Moore, where Perler Beads (aka Fuse Beads) and those crazy Blendy Pens (well, Color Splitz) were purchased. He then saw the Jumpy Thing.

I am not a fan of the Jumpy Thing. It kind of scares me. Full of heights and such. It’s a combo of a Bungee Jump and Circus equipment, being run by questionably uncircus like professionals. I usually try to usher him quickly by the Jumpy Thing.  My Momdar was going off, all red lights, screaming, “DANGER! DANGER, WILL ROBINSON!”  But, I was willing to try. We had time and he was showing excellent behavior. He listened to what the uncircus type people told him to do. His first few jumps landed him swinging in the air, like ship rigging in a storm, but he managed to get back into the proper rhythm and he was jumping like a pro. He was 20 maybe 25 feet in the air. Not a frightened scream out of him. He did say, “Cowabunga!” but that was par for the course. I was so darn proud of him.

I also had to get him new sneakers, as he’s growing like kudzu. Shopping and Nathan do not mix. His limit is usually 5 minutes, and then he starts pulling my arm, hanging on me like a leech. On this trip, he allowed me to not only get him a new pair of sneakers, but allowed me to shop, albeit briefly.

He said he was thirsty and I let him put money in the vending machine to get a bottle of water. I didn’t prompt him with instructions, and he figured it out pretty easily. We sat on a bench and he took a few sips. He declared himself better and we went to Panera to get a quick snack. He stood in line in front of me, my arm across his chest, which calms him when we have to wait. We had a good 6 minute wait and he didn’t make a peep. We sat down at a table with tall stools and he propped himself up and we ate quietly.

Driving home, I thought to myself, “What an amazing day”. A day without prompting, correcting, rephrasing, reminding, behavior modification, anxiety or drama.  A day we spent together, going to lunch, buying sneakers and walking around the mall. A simple, every day task to some. A daunting task to us. But that day, it was like the stars aligned and everything just clicked. I don’t know how many of those days are coming, or if they’ll ever come again, but man, I was so delighted to have that special time with him.

I started thinking that maybe all the millions and millions of times that I have given him rules and regulations and rephrasings that maybe one day, it would all make sense to him. Maybe that day, it did. Maybe on that day, too, I gave him a little more room to try, instead of prompting him before he could make a mistake, and that gave him confidence.

I can’t stop believing that this will continue to work, that he will continue to improve and that one day, he’ll be able to do all these things relatively seamlessly. I believe one day his symptoms will all but disappear, or like the ninja, he will blend in so well, that no one will know he ever had symptoms. I believe one day, we will know what causes this. I believe in him and I hope that he believes in me.

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