I Cried Today.

Buddy loves his music.  He has a DVD player and TV in his room, and he plays DVDs and CDs,  from the time he wakes up, until bedtime.

He can find the song he wants, and will play it all day.   He knows, what CD/DVD has the song he is looking for, and how many times he has to push the buttons to get to it.

This morning I was getting ready to pay bills, and Buddy comes out of his room and grabs my arm.   He pulls me back to his room as fast as he can, and I think the usual…he pushed the wrong button and turned the TV off.  And he is asking me to fix it for him.

We get to his room and he pushes some buttons…Tanya Tucker starts singing about a road map of Texas.

I start making jokes, and asking for kisses.  Then I asked for a hug. and he leans over and pushes a few more buttons…he stops and Ms Tucker starts introducing a song.    As she does, Buddy grabs my hands and pulls me to him.

He wraps my arms around him and pulls me into a bear hug, so I start to slow dance with him  as the music begins.

Buddy, understands everything,  so I can only believe that he was trying to tell me something in a way that only a non-verbal person can.

As he held me tight, with his head on my shoulder and mine on his… Tanya Tucker sang “You Are So Beautiful To Me”.

When I looked up and said “Is that what you want to tell me?”  He smiled the biggest smile, and I cried.

I can’t tell you how awesome it is to FEEL loved, when you can’t hear it!



Opening the Autism Box

For eighteen years, I believed all of the experts…the doctors, teachers and therapists.  I never once doubted them.  I was told that Buddy was in his own little world, that he didn’t understand, that he never would.  And that I shouldn’t waste my time on manners or explanations. That all of this was a waste of time and effort.

So I talked AT Buddy, not to him.   The mom in me never gave up on the manners part though, I am a stickler for manners.

Then our lives changed. Three major pieces of the puzzle fit into place that year…  I saw a movie on HBO about Temple Grandin.  I had read a few of her books, so I knew her background, but seeing the movie and watching with her commentary was the first eye opener. I also met my cousin and his wife, they have a son a year older than Buddy, that also has autism.  My cousin gave me the best advice…”play dumb”. Then I saw Carly Fleischmann on 20/20…that was it icing on the cake.

These 3 factors changed life as we knew it.  I started playing dumb.  I started saying “Buddy, I don’t know what you want, you need to show me” and “Can you help me, please?” I also started paying closer attention to what he was looking at.  And I would imagine what I would be thinking if I was looking at the same thing.  Then I would talk about it and imagine Buddy’s curiosity.  Saying things like “Did you see that plane, Buddy?  It had cool red wings, did you see the red wings?”

I started thinking about what I thought were coincidences. Like the time he was about 4, he had a little train Christmas tree ornament. It made this cute little “choo choo” sound.  Well, it WAS cute the first few dozen times.  I got tired of hearing the annoying little train, so when Buddy wasn’t looking, I stuck it on top of the fridge.  A day or two later, Buddy had found it and I had to give it back.  The next time it annoyed me, I stuck it in a cabinet.  Buddy discovered it there too.  So the next time it drove me crazy, I thought “That’s it!”  I waited until Buddy was in the living room and I took the train into my bedroom, closed the door, lifted the mattress corner, and tucked it a few inches between the mattress and box spring.  I felt like a champion…I won the battle of the choo choo!  Or so I thought.  About a week later…guess who had the train?!  I never thought about it, just thought he found it somehow.   Fast forward back to the present…I realized that I TOLD everyone where it was.  I spoke about it freely, assuming that Buddy either wouldn’t listen or understand.  Never thinking that he not only heard me, but understood EXACTLY what I was saying.

I am so grateful, for these 3 life changers.  Autism is a box, and I was keeping Buddy inside.  I am so glad that we opened the box and let my sweet boy out.  It may just be my perception, but Buddy has grown more in these last 5 years than in the 18 prior.