Yesterday as I am swamped with this cold, and my co parent was gone out, I made a list of bits for D to go and get for me at the local shop. It’s only 5 mins away and he is 13; but on the list was something he’s not bought before and would be a challenge for him. Due to his ASD (Aspergers Disorder) I do have to push his comfort levels to get him to do things he’s back out of otherwise.
In this case it was to go to the fresh baked bread display and get one of the Vienna rolls he likes so much. Thinking about it made him nervous, he has in his head all the things which can go wrong and people might be looking at him. This sort of stuff is par for the course with him. He came back with out it, but with everything else on the list, so I was happy enough.
The he said ‘Damnit, Mam can I go back over and get the bread? I failed last time and I really like that bread, so I want to go try and get it again’. I was so proud, of him and even if he didn’t come back with it, the fact he pushed himself to go over and even to pass by the people he just passed by on the road and to see the shop assistants again in such a short space of time is a huge step for him. A year ago the idea that people would think it odd to see him going back over the shop or that they would think he failed and so had to go back was too much for him to bear.
So off he went and he came home with the loaf and after two slices settled down to do his homework. I am so pleased and proud, I know it’s just a loaf of bread but the fact he choose to go back over and did it with no fuss or no prompting means a lot to me, makes me more hopeful for him living a fuller life and not being stuck in the same routine all the time.
My Grand Dad used to say, we don’t own our children, we are entrusted with them for a short time and we teach them their first steps and one day they will walk way from us to their own lives.
I pretty much take the fact that I have to prepare and skill up my kids to be able to walk away and start their own lives independent of me as my parenting mission statement. It was before I knew my son was on the autism spectrum, and it hasn’t changed. Yes it means that it’s more complicated, there are slightly more hurdles and certain things are harder on him and us as a family but days like yesterday give me hope and let’s me know I am getting it right, well at least some of the time.