Autism…Love has to be Enough

For the first two weeks of kindergarten I’d walk him to the cafeteria then quickly drive around to the playground to park at the curb so I could watch him. There he was, in his own little world as a blacktop full of kids played all around him. He was either unaware or totally uninterested in the world that was happening around him.

He developed a routine the first time he stepped foot on that playground and that routine was his go to every morning when I dropped him off, that routine was his comfort, his calm in a sea of unknown. And as I watched he’d make a loop around the tan-barked area, then across the balance beam and up the steps, down another set of steps and back to looping the tan-bark perimeter. All the while I’d be silently encouraging him from afar with a toddler in the back seat enthusiastically yelling “broooderrr!”.

I sat in my car, willing him to say hi to someone, to anyone, to look up at the world around him, to connect, to make a friend, to be adventurous and at least change his route. Everyday I dropped him off then sat and watched, it was torture. It was the first time I’d seen him obsess over routine outside of our house and it hit me hard, how was he ever going to fit in? I felt so lonely for him, and on the third day I called my husband in tears, describing the situation and my heartbreak and my husband as he always does, calmly pointed out that I was aching for something Caiden didn’t know. Caiden was ok being alone in his world, he didn’t know he was “missing out” on anything and it surely wasn’t bothering him, he was content in his routine.

At pickup I’d try to ask him about his day, which rarely produced more than a few words, think teenager response. And for the first week, I tried to encourage him to play with a friend, and then one day I asked him about his morning routine and his reply was simple “I just like it mom”.

And there it was; that simple “I just like it mom” made me stop and think, who am I to try to change him because I would be happier with friends? It’s not my job to make him like me or anyone else, it’s my job to love him, just as God made him, to support him and encourage him and be his rock as he navigates through an unknown world, as we navigate through this unknown world together.

After all, isn’t that what this life is about, loving others so radically, so completely, so abundantly that you accept who they are and what their happiness looks like without question and without fail. Because sometimes, love has to be enough.

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All my Love,

Kelly

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