“What’s that noise, Mom?”
Whenever my seven-year-old son, Norrin, asks me a question, I smile. Some parents get annoyed by their kid’s never ending questions, but I welcome them. Norrin has autism and when he was first diagnosed, he had no language. We wondered if he would ever be able to speak.
Norrin is pointing up at the sky, waiting for my response. He’s smiling his typical Norrin smile, his eyes are twinkling with excitement because he knows the answer.
“Gee, I don’t know…what do you think that noise is?” I ask.
Norrin jumps up and down.”It’s a plane! Can we go on a plane mom? And stay in a hotel.” (Three summers ago, we flew down to Florida to visit Disney World and he’s been asking to go back ever since. I am impressed he still remembers.)
“Maybe next year,” I say, even though he doesn’t yet understand the concept of next year.
The answer seems to satisfy him and he moves on to asking about something else. And as he’s talking, smiling, and looking around I am amazed by his energy, his excitement for the everyday mundane activity of standing, waiting for his school bus. When the bus arrives, he hops on greeting the driver and matron with a smile, ready for his day to begin.
I walk back into my building with far less excitement, wishing I shared Norrin’s enthusiasm. Raising a son with autism has taught me many things, but there are still a few lessons I have yet to learn.
I Envy My 7-Year-Old Son 1 of 7
George Bernard Shaw said that, "Youth is wasted on the young." I don't believe this applies to my 7-year-old son, Norrin. Click through to see the 6 six ways I wish that I were more like him.
He Doesn’t Care What People Think 2 of 7
My son is a hand-flapping, happy-go-lucky kid. When he was younger his hand-flapping pretty much went unnoticed. Now that he's 7, it's more obvious. I'd be lying if I said his hand flapping didn't bother me especially when people stare. But Norrin doesn't care. He flaps when he's happy or excited. And if he doesn't care, then neither should I.
He Smiles 3 of 7
All. The. Time. I'm usually
walkingrunning down the street with a frown or scowl thinking of my never ending to-do list. Norrin strolls down the street smiling or giggling to himself. Sometimes I wish he'd let me in on the joke. But even when he doesn't (or can't because he doesn't have the words to express what he's feeling), seeing him reminds me to slow down and smile.
He is Fearless 4 of 7
Anyone who knows me, knows that I'm pretty scared of letting Norrin go. But he is fearless and full of adventure—almost always ready to try new things.
He Doesn’t Care About Time Tables 5 of 7
It took me 15 years to complete my bachelor's degree and another 5 to graduate with a master's degree. I am almost 40-years-old and it's taken half of my life to achieve what most people finish in 8 years or less. Having a son with autism, I've learned to let him go at his own pace. I learned to let go of time tables and to accept that he'll achieve goals on his own terms. He is unaware of what "typical" kids are doing and can't compare himself to them. Norrin is simply proud of his accomplishments. To him, that's all that matters.
He Doesn’t Have a Worry in the World 6 of 7
My day-to-day is pretty stressful. With so much weighing on my mind, it's hard for me to relax. I find myself thinking about all the what ifs and the future. Norrin doesn't have those worries just yet. He just goes with the flow without a care in the world.
He Finds Joy in the Little Things 7 of 7
Whether its running through the sprinklers or eating an ice cream cone, Norrin finds joy in the little things. He stops to appreciate the moment. Walking down the street, he stops to look at everything; the flowers, the kids playing, the birds, an airplane flying by. He takes it all in and finds joy in his observations.
Do you envy your kids? How do you wish you were more like them?
Read more of Lisa’s writing at AutismWonderland.