Monday, March 29, 2010

Put on your Easter Bonnet, and all your frills upon it..... Oh and just add a sprinkling of joy too please......

I am brought to you today by overwhelming joy, happiness, pride and love.  Oh did I mention love?  My heart is busting with overflowing LOVE!  A happier Easter I could not wish for after today's Hat Parade at J's preschool.  These events are always so hit and miss for our family.  We never know if J will participate or if it will end in meltdown and/or sensory overload because these happy and fun events that most mummies love going to after they have lovingly made the big fancy Easter bonnet for their child to proudly wear in the "fun" parade are more often than not a source of great anxiety for Jackson.  He hates the change in routine, he has trouble with sensory overload in crowds and he is super avoidant when it comes to "performing" a task he is not familiar with.

Today though, there was no miss about it.  It was a HIT!

Just when I thought I could not be more grateful to the beautiful women who help support my baby boy (he'll always be my baby boy) at preschool, they pulled off a miracle through their dedication to make the parade "J friendly" for him and it worked.  A few simple steps to familiarise him with what would be expected and a bit of compromise on both sides and hey presto!  I was able to be one of the "other" mums in the crowd for once who needed not even once to explain why J was "behaving" in a certain way.  Not once. The teachers had started practicing the parade with J last week and talking about it and the bunny ears he would be asked to wear during it.  He was also paired with the most delightful little girl (and is apparently his future wife, as according to this beautiful little girl, she is going to marry my J).  Of course, I'm fine with the wedding plans as it's the little things like that that I never take for granted .  I love to hear about the girls in the class talking about their plans to marry my baby boy I mean, they are only human and although I am incredibly biased and totally shameless in my adoration for my boys, I think J is so perfectly and beguilingly handsome that his looks will help him through many of life's obstacles and believe me, I'm grateful, chuffed and also bemused that these sweet little preschoolers are already falling for his big ringlet curls and his big brown eyes and that oh so cheeky big grin.

So there we were, sitting front row and centre waiting for the parade to start and I will admit to having my usual knots of nerves as I so hoped it would turn out well and not just for me and any need I have to see J do the "right" thing, more for J so he could enjoy the parade like the other kids and for once feel comfortable and happy even though it was a change in his routine.

It was quite a long wait until J's turn and he sat pretty quietly with the kids for the most part aside from one little excursion across the lawn to give me a heartfelt  kiss and a cuddle and also one of each for his little brother who was wearing his own set of Bunny Ears in support of the occasion.

J's turn came finally, my video camera was poised and ready to go just in case it was a hit and not a miss.....  Will he do it?  Won't he do it?  No one around me would have seen the inner encouragement I was trying to physically send out to will my little guy on and help his anxiety stay at bay so he could just walk down the path holding A's hand and walk back again.  I'm talking about possibly a maximum of twenty steps.  Just twenty little steps so many parents would have no understanding of the difficulty those steps would consist of for my J.  Twenty steps of sheer terror for many children with Autism and although twenty steps sounds like such a small task, our world is one of only EVER taking ONE step at a time.  It's like the Autism Mum mantra I think....  We probably all have the same mantra in our heads for any occasion, any day, any task, any achievement.. anything.  One proverbial and symbolic step at a time...

Yet here I was hoping for twenty actual steps. With the expectation of him overcoming the possible sensory issue of the bunny ears.  With the expectation he was to hold A's hand and guide her along for the twenty steps too and with the expectation he would be fine with all the clapping which is another sensory concern for him from the parents and teachers as they encouraged each child through their twenty steps.

Camera poised.........  Time to take the first step.......

Huge smile, A's hand delightedly in his own and off they went.  I'm teary recollecting it now.  "Hello Mummy!" he called as he competently passed me by on his twenty steps of pure unadulterated bliss for all to see and experience with him.  Step ten or so was time to turn around and he paused.  A look sideways to the grass beside the path of the parade......  He bent down and found the only yellow daisy in a big patch of green, plucked it from the ground turned around to take the return journey to the class and proceeded to rush over to me again with pretty, sweet, patient and kind little A still in tow (sporting the most open and giving smile of her own too).  J handed his freshly picked yellow daisy to me and I'm being generous by not calling it by it's rightful name of a weed.... but it was simply the most exquisite weed I have ever seen. He looked at me squarely in the eyes, shared a moment just for us in a crowd of many others and said in his ridiculously loud voice, "I LOVE YOU SOOO MUCH MUMMY."  I responded through my predictable and joyful tears that sprang up from my always aching heart..... "I love you too J, thank you baby boy."

After a gentle prompt to be a gentleman and continue escorting his betrothed back down the path to return to his class, he adjusted his askew bunny ears, grabbed dear A's hand and took his next ten steps too pausing only at the end to tell A he was sorry he had no flower for her but he loves her too and sealed it with one of those heart breakingly innocent preschooler kisses.  A nodded and smiled and I think they shared their own moment of a friendship I wondered once if I would ever see for my baby.  They hugged and took their places back on the mat with the other kids.

Bliss.  Joy.  Tears.  Heartache.  Happiness.  Daisies.  Kisses.  Hugs.  Moments.  Love.

I believe I visited Heaven today.


 **Note.  In all the emotion, I did not realise until after wards that my video camera was on the incorrect setting.  No vision unfortunately but all audio was captured.  I've requested that anyone present with a video camera  might gift me a copy of any footage they took.  I believe I was meant to be present in that moment without distractions and totally focused on J. I shall always have my memories and this one will never be forgotten.**

1 comment:

  1. Thats lovely, and fantastic that the preschool put thought into it on behalf of your son:) Jen.