“Are you sure you got the right size?” I asked, looking at the new pair of boots my husband, Joseph, purchased for our seven-year old son Norrin.
“That’s the size you told me to get.”
(And then we went back and forth for a bit, the way husbands and wives often do.)
The boot was heavy and much bigger than the palm of my hand. Holding the boot made me sad. Norrin turned seven a few weeks back but it seemed like only yesterday I was in the hospital holding him in my arms for the very first time. A time when both his feet fit cupped in my hand.
Norrin was two years old when he was first diagnosed with autism. And the gap between his chronological age and his developmental age was significant, but not obvious. However, the older Norrin gets, the more obvious the difference becomes.
Most times, it’s easy for me to forget Norrin’s age. Because even though he’s a big kid, I still do so much for him. The kind of stuff that most seven-year olds have mastered.
I brush his teeth because he still has trouble manipulating a toothbrush. (Though lately, he’s been pushing my hand away saying, “I can do it. I can do it.”)
I help Norrin button his jeans and I tie his shoes because he doesn’t have the fine motor skills to do it himself.
And when we’re out and about, there’s no letting go of his hand. Not even for a moment. Because I fear he’ll run away.
Norrin may be seven, but in many ways he functions at a three/four year old level. And I realize, that’s how I see him. That’s how I treat him. And it’s hard watching him grow up and knowing he’s still so far behind.
Now I just need to accept that Norrin is growing up.
Read more of Lisa’s writing at AutismWonderland.