Sunday, July 18, 2010
Little Steps, Giant Leaps
If you didn't know this little boy, my little Tate, you wouldn't understand what an amazing picture this really is. You couldn't possibly know the smile I had on my face when I took this snapshot or the emotions that went through my mind as I pondered the steps it has taken to get us to this place. You see a happy, smiling boy at the beach. The way all 5 year old boys should be. What a difference a year makes.
Last year, we descended down the stairway to the beach when Tate was struck with complete terror. The waves were rolling in and when my other children giggled in delight, he had nothing but fear as he saw the impending waves coming his way. He clung to the rails and would not let go for dear life. He was scared out of his mind. He couldn't enjoy the beach like my other children. He didn't even want to go in the sand. It took most of the week to get him to even go down the stairs without screaming and only on the last day did he even let us get him near the water.
One year later, we descended down the same stairway. We weren't sure what we would get. It was cold. It was windy. He saw the waves. He smiled. He ran to the water. He splashed, played and grabbed a Sponge Bob boogie board. He loved it. He could enjoy the beach like my other children. We did not let Autism take that joy away from him. Every child should be able to feel the ocean and experience the feeling of happiness, not torture. Oh the little steps that got us there.
This trip was filled with many more experiences for this little guy that were giant leaps above the other years. You don't always see the progress you are making with these little guys until you look back where you were. Last year, it would be unthinkable to go on a ride at an amusement park. This year, he rode the carousel at Magic Mountain over and over. He went on the train rides and airplanes. He smiled and wanted to go again. He went to the potty himself. He fed himself. He ate whatever we placed before him. He was happy. He enjoyed playing with his cousins.
We still have many hills to climb. There will always be hills to climb. I get frustrated. I get sad. I pray nightly what I need to do for this little boy. I forget where we have come from. I forget about the days where he wasn't really there and couldn't participate in life. I forget how my heart would ache for this child until I see moments like this captured on film. Back then, this would have been my dream. This would have been my goal. A smile on the beach. I still have lots of dreams for this little guy but today I am going to enjoy this one dream come true. Who knows what next year will be. I can only pray he will be able to tell me in his own words how it feels to have the waves crash on his toes. I want to hear those words more than I can say but we have made giant leaps.
All things are possible. Believe that my fellow mama's out there who have these similar souls who need our care. Fight for it. Enjoy the little steps. Push for the giant leaps. Believe in miracles.