Anyone who knows anything about people with autism sometimes struggle with eye contact and can be one of the first indications towards figuring out your child is autistic. Brody would never look people in the eyes as a baby, he would flail his head just to avoid it. Therapist on therapist worked on this with him and lately we have made progress by pointing to above the lip and saying look. He will momentarily pause and glance at you in the eyes then just as quickly dart his eyes away.
I’ve preached until I’m blue in the face how little moments are times to really take in time with family. I believe in slowing down, really watching and absorbing even the littlest thing and trying to take a mental photograph. As a young kid I lost the majority of grandparents in a short time span. It was devestating to me that such beautiful souls were now just Angels above watching over me. Things trigger my memory from time to time and they are often in my dreams. I would do anything to have my grandparents back, to have them experience the joy that Brody brings to a room. My parents have always been great about making memories and turning their full attention to my sisters and I. We always had cheerleaders, a pat on the back and constant support and for that, we are very lucky.
As I’ve said in previous posts, our family is very open about expressing love and openly show emotions. Since Brody is nonverbal, I have yet to be told “I love you” or called mama. He babbles from time to time things along that line but never distinctively forming the words. I say this but will quickly follow up by saying I know he says I love you in countless other ways. I think part of my bond with Brody is that I will practically make a fool of myself and be a monkey just to get his attention and capture some eye contact. Different noises, imitating him, physical features or silly faces will catch his attention as his gaze scans the room and I get a brief moment of those happy eyes all on me. Part of learning about Brodys autism has been thinking outside of the box and getting comfortable with a path no ones been down as every kid on the spectrum is different. Every day I learn new things that strengthen our bond and help us make those memories where we rely on reading eachother rather then words.
The hammock is a favorite go to for us, we are forced to be close and I know how much he loves swinging. Brody grins the whole time and chatters with excitement as his beautiful blonde hair blows in the breeze. That smile is contagious, it’s my little slice of heaven. In the beginning of this post I talked about taking in little moments and it’s times like this I’m referencing. We swing contently, back and fourth, no worries or regard to anything else. Tonight he turned his head completely to me, leaned in so our noses were touching and looked me so closely in the eye. While this is no big thing for most, to me it was such a happy moment. He turned his head to the side so we were now cheek to cheek and just laid on me. I took a mental photograph, he is growing by the day and slowly he is becoming a boy rather then a baby. With autism I’ve learned that behaviors and tendencies can come and go within a week so taking everything in is even more important. I soaked up the love as we just laid there, swinging until my heart was full. Before I knew it he was off again, eating his popcorn and rearranging his special group of objects like he does every day.
I hope you all let your world slow down and everything fall away during times like this. Taking even the smallest memories like this for granted is such a shame, we are lucky to for every moment with special people we love. Make time for the important people in you’re life, life is so kind but can also be cruel at times. Again, Brody has reminded me another thing that I had forgotten since being a child and I hope this serves as a reminder to those needing it.