Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Gift Giver

Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love,
a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.” ~
Mother Teresa of Calcutta

The Boy wakes up most nights, stumbling into our room, waking me up.  In the early hours of the morning, hours before the sun rises, he is his most talkative and engaged.  He will answer your questions, if you're awake enough to ask.  He'll make requests "Mommy, can I have a drink?"  He'll lay beside me, put both hands on my face and smile - looking right into my eyes.  And in those moments, it's easy to forget the challenge of our day to day.

Last Tuesday, we interviewed with a school.  And after twenty minutes, the Director said The Boy wouldn't be a good fit.  "He's too self-involved.  It takes too long to bring him back."

It's true.  The Boy is self-involved.  He does lose focus and he does go off someplace.  Still physically present, but his mind is someplace else.  And it will take several seconds to get his attention again.  For him to return to you from the unknown.

The Director - who was very sweet - walked The Boy and I out of the school. The Boy looked up at me.  "I had fun with the school."  He whispers the words almost uncertainly. "I had fun..." is a phrase he's been taught to say after leaving some place. 

And then The Boy smiled. The smile that I love. The smile that makes me smile no matter how I'm feeling.  The smile that reaffirms, that he is really with me; I am a significant part of his world, everyone else, not so much.  His smile is his gift to me, a replacement for the spontaneous speech that he has yet to master.

And let me tell you - his spontaneous smile makes a damn good substitute.  


AutismWonderland - written by Lisa Quinones-Fontanez - is a personal blog chronicling a NYC family's journey with autism, while also sharing local resources for children/families with special needs.