After 56 years one would think that a person knows when not to recognise the sign and feel some of the frustrations of both the child and the parent sitting quietly in front of you. One hour was watching as at first the father sat there with two children, Looked up and thought Yes you are on the spectrum. Then looked at the children. Having been in the same place a few weeks ago, I was privileged to see these two preteenagers already accepted into the community. One could see that they knew there was a difference between them and most of the other children playing.
Now the mother came in. Sat down. Bent down and opened a material thing. Turns out there was a material road complete with velcro into place bridge. I gazed in wonder at that toy knowing that had my two boys [ especially the youngest had something like that things may have been easier. But no instead my son at the age of two wonders around and collected all the cushions. Each week was the same. Just different a timetable. Off he would quietly go around and remove every one of the thin cushions. Promptly built a castle wall around himself with me within. There were sixty-five of these cushions. That last odd one always annoyed him. Until he was shown by an older lady to sit on it himself. That solved that frustration. The older woman was in her sixties then also had tales to share. Like mine were developing into. And passing on the ‘we are all in this together’ eye contact, a nod, and a wink.
Next, the child placed the mat carefully to one side of the walkway. Sat there lining up the toy cars and a plane neatly: 1, 2 and then 1, 2 and again 1,2 until all twelve toys were in place. The arrangement changed throughout the hour. The mother was carefully dividing her attention between the games progression for telltale signs and what was happening at the front with the speaker.
Like a timed precision requirement out came the second mat as the fishers were required to walk up and down the walkway walking around with the collection bag.
As everyone else filed out, my own position changed. Facing the Lady the statement was made that “had I thought to have made these mats for a time like we had had my outings may have been slightly less anxiety-ridden.” As the conversations progressed, this tired mother started tp relax.
Not relax her guard, but with myself. As she realised the sincerity and commonality of what someone experiencing bringing up a child through the Autism Spectrum the smiles started to appear more often, They, the smiles, were beautiful to was as the flittered out and lifted the room.
We were sharing a “we are in this together moment. Yes, the world needs all kinds of mums. Some of those moms choose to be available for the younger mums who are selflessly giving of themselves in to their community. Not even know that through the parents is where the Autism Spectrum Gene has come from. A case of looking into yourself will cause you to smile or have a major meltdown if you believe you are all by your own.
The lady in the isolated towns church when our son was little, well her son became one of the traveling ministers that visited the Church. Ours is a truck driver. Both these children had someone within the community recognize something akin to their own situation and quietly [ with parental permission] appointed themselves as a mentor. That was where I relearned about empathy. The ‘we are in this together’ attitude people sometimes are lucky enough to experience.
“how I failed to be an ideal mum.’
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