The comment, 'these children will never respect you,' has haunted me a while. I think of all the things that I want for all of my children. Quite a few of them begin with the letter 'R.'
There are a great many parents who have their children at the center of their tiny universe. [translation = I'm in that category too] It probably is unhealthy, but I am not qualified to address that matter. [translation = many Brits know little about health] I am reassured to know that there are a few things that I do know, that there are a few constants on the roller coaster of autism. The things that I know, that are constants, are few and far between. I know that these few constants may change at any time without warning, but I still relish the reassurance of the constants.
I hear the ruckus next door. [translation = early warning that they are awake] I roll out of bed and stagger downstairs in an effort to achieve 'awake' before they make their appearance. I know that my daughter will sleep in, because it is the weekend, but the boys are relentless.
Light on, coffee on, feed the cats.
I wait in the kitchen trying to force my brain to turn 'on.' [translation = as well as the powers of speech] Before too long I hear them emerge from their bedroom. One stomps along the corridor, irregular steps, contact with the wall several times, bumbles down the stairs. Although I can't see him from the kitchen, I know that half his body is supported by the banister, cheek to the wood, hands as guidance as his body is folded over, his superfluous legs are several steps behind, little tippy toes deep in the carpet pile. I know that when he reaches the newel post at the end, he will spin around 360 degrees by accident, before he steadies himself and renews his path towards the kitchen.
I stand there, in the centre of the kitchen as he makes the final few steps from newel post, en route to the family room. I bar the way, a large form in a brown dressing gown. I open my arms so that I am even larger, a net to ensure his capture. I am now so large that he cannot possibly miss me. He bimbles into the kitchen eyes cast down following his path. He stops dead, one step prior to collision. His eyes rove slowly up from my slippers to my face, before his head clonks into my ribcage so that I can enfold him. We do no exchange words, but I give him a few of my own anyway.
I let him go and resume my position for the next one. I hear his tippy toes machine gun down the hall. I know that the rate of his movement forward, may not necessarily be reflected by the rate of his rapping. [translation = he can 'rap' on the spot too, without moving] I know that his hands are holding something, although I don't know what it will be today. I know that since he is only just awake, that his mouth will be open. [translation = poor lip closure]
His transition from bedroom to kitchen is spectacularly speedy. He arrives clutching a box piled high, a pyramid of Pokemon. How he has managed to balance them is beyond my imagination. [translation = future conjuror or plate spinner] He whirls around 180 degrees, so that he can reverse into me for a hug and not dislodge his hold on the box. I curl my body around his for a second or two as he vibrates, sucks in a mouthful of drool and smiles. My arms unleash him and he spins away.
Like all children, they have a great deal to learn. I hope that they learn to respect themselves and others, all 'others.'