The day Owen waits for was finally here. His dreams and reality don’t always come together and sometimes collide. And today they did big time. We woke almost at the same time. I was thankful he slept until five o’clock when a lot of Saturday mornings he is up so early. Right now it feels like he is going through a lot, a lot of emotions, a lot. The up and down rollercoaster ride makes it even harder for me to walk out of my door some days knowing that it will end up with him crying or having a meltdown. My heart breaks for how hard it is for him. He has a picture in his mind of his perfect day with grandma’s computer that isn’t even hooked up to the internet, his tablet, Mickey on the tv, a bowl of turkey meat, a different bowl with triangle chips, chocolate almond milk in his sippy cup, riding by the fire hydrant, then the church, railroad tracks, depot, and McDonald’s. Bike riding and bowling are talked about but generally up in the air until he can handle them. He wants us to have pizza or fish but he really wants to go to the “little Donald’s for chicken nuggets, french fries, a plain cheeseburger, and chocolate milk with honey mustard” that he won’t eat until later in the day. There are so many other steps in between or options that can or cannot be changed depending on how we say something or what is happening in the moment and that’s all subject to change if it’s raining or a thousand other scenarios that I really can’t even begin to comprehend but I need to comprehend to help the meltdowns that may or may not happen. My exhaustion is exhausted and we were only gone from the house less than six hours. Some days he recovers quickly from all his emotions but I’m still hanging on to the swinging pendulum that feels like it will never stop. I left him at his grandma’s house for several hours and he was in a great mood when I brought his pizza request, he even ate a bite of it. He was excited about going to ride his bike but then he wanted to do all of the other things first. Last week he got so upset because my mom turned left or right when he thought she should go right or left and that was that. There was a meltdown and now the reflection of the meltdown from last week carried over to today. No matter what we decided it was going to be emotional for him. We stuck to the plan though. We pushed through and he rode his bike for a few minutes. I let him choose between riding his bike or going home. He wanted to go to the fire hydrant first but we stuck with riding his bike. Driving by one particular fire hydrant brings him incredible joy. He has to go in the right direction down the road and then he is happy he sees it. This also causes meltdowns when it causes meltdowns. It also causes me to cry because this is so incredibly hard for him to understand that we cannot possibly go by all of the streets, places, and objects he wants to see each and every time we are out. I was thankful he was at least able to ride his bike some without having a complete meltdown. My mom then took him to the “little Donald’s” and then I picked him up. We came home, driving by the windows but I turned in a different spot hoping that he could process that we both get to make choices. We had passed one of the bowling alleys on our way home and he said, “let’s go bowling” but by this time he had numerous meltdowns and had told me he didn’t want to go. When we got home he was extremely calm, ready for his Sunday, and ate his dinner before bed. He wanted me to turn the sun off because it wasn’t dark enough for nighttime but he sleeps with his light on. He finally fell asleep and I won’t be far behind him. Autism is as much about how I handle it as it is about Owen having it. We learn, we love, we grow. And not necessarily in that order. Each day is a gift. Today the gift was tied with a very tight ribbon but when we opened the package it was amazing to see the story unfold. In those challenges the greatest rewards are found. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I'm Lynn Browder. Owen's Mommy. The best moments in time are when I get to see the smile on his face and that giggle come from his heart.