Letters to Sammy I: Face the Fear
What is life, if not a permanent fight between dreams and reality? Now that you’re still my baby, your life is my very own fight: between my dreams and your reality. You are growing fast; your face is losing that baby look, giving space to a handsome boy. You are discovering the world at your own time and pace and I am walking by your side. I wish I could understand more, and hold your hand to lead the way all the time, but even when I can’t, I am still there watching you.
You’re teaching me a lot; for example, to be brave and strong. One of the early signs of autism that we identified was your fear of crowds and close spaces. I still remember how you cried every time we entered the aisles at the grocery store, a restaurant, an office or the mall; but look at you! One year later, you are able to go with us everywhere and most of the time you can stay calm as much as any other kid of your age -well, excluding a couple of meltdowns that later I will tell you in private :)-. We knew that you need some extra support to be familiar with these places, so we took you every Sunday to the mall and enter different stores until it was easy for you. Now we can visit the doctor, the therapist, grab a bite at Mario’s or buy some groceries while you play on your little computer; without feeling frustrated because you cannot stop crying. That is a great milestone that I want you to remember when you have to face it again in life. Remember that you were not older than 2 years old and you were already fighting and defeating monsters.
This weekend you did it again! You played at the splash pad with other kids and enjoyed the water until your lips couldn’t stop shivering! It was a wonderful afternoon, I totally forgot about everything else, I just jumped and run under the rainbow with you and Emily without ever crossing my mind with autism, meltdowns, wandering or fears. I had the time of my life!
Here in this picture, you are 10 months old and at this point I didn’t know anything about autism. I was a little worried because you just sit and stayed in the same place without attempting to crawl but I thought it was ok, considering that not all kids develop at the same pace. You were happy with the water, smiling and looking at the camera. You didn’t look scare, and mama was already planning how we were going to enjoy the next summer at that fabulous place.
The next summer arrived, but mama was busy having a rough time at the hospital, so we couldn’t visit the splash pad together, but papo and grandma took you a couple of times to play with the water. As you can see in the picture, you were not interested in playing, you were just happy wandering around the park. I can tell for all the pictures I found in the computer that grandma was behind you all the time, watching and following your steps. They told me that you cried a lot each time they prompted you to the water ,and the summer finished without any fun in the sun 😦
Yesterday we went to the splash pad again. 2 years later I saw that cute smile in your face as soon as you saw the water, but you couldn’t get close to it. I parked your stroller and sat close to you. We watched Emily jumping around and we cheered together when she screamed because the water was cold. We went home feeling the water in the air and making plans to come and try again the next day.
This afternoon the weather was beautiful and the park was full of kids. We parked again the stroller close to the splash pad but this time mama didn’t sit close to you. I just went and jumped and screamed holding hands with Emily under the water. You screamed and cheered as well holding your little cars in your hands until you decided to stand up and come closer. You walked around and wait for the water to stop to go under the rainbow… you did it several times until I hold you and run with you in my hands… it was so much fun! You recovered your breath and try it by yourself several times. It was so cute to see you approaching very carefully to touch the water, when suddenly a fountain behind you made you scream and run into another fountain over and over again… soon you realized that you couldn’t run, you had to enjoy it, and you did it!
Today you taught me another lesson: In my life, I am use to rush to the water. You showed me today that we can enjoy life together even if we do it slowly. There is no rush! I love you so much and I want you to try everything, maybe that is why I look like that I am in a rush… but today I let you feel life and deal with it at your own pace, and I didn’t feel any frustration, I was just the happiest mama in the world jumping around in the water with my two beautiful children.
As proud as I can be,