"It's so good to see you. It's been too long. How you doin'?" (That's how we say What's up? in New Jersey)
"Just doin'" I say with a shrug and a smile. I know the person means more than just asking how I am. She means my son. She is interested and wants to hear the good, the bad and the ugly. She's listened to me brag and she's listened to me cry buckets of snot over my kid. Right now, I don't have much to report. We're "just doin'". We wake up. We go to school/work. We go to therapies. We go to sleep. It's a bit of an autism rut at the moment.
Believe me, I am happy with the rut. He's not the only one that doesn't want surprises. l like knowing what's coming next. It means everything we are working on is sticking. We haven't had any regressions in a while. (Knock wood. By that I mean knock my head because I'm Irish and that's what we do.) So that is good. I don't have a tale of woe to regale her with as she nods sympathetically.
I also don't have any "Oh my god! Did I tell you about???" moments either. This is kind of where I get a little worried as an autism parent. Are we stuck here? Is this all it will ever be? Will this be as the movie by the same title says, "As Good As It Gets." I'm not sure. He's now ten. He's come far but what if the progress has stopped for good? That thought is so overwhelming to me I want to go hide under my son's weighted blanket. I love him how he is everyday but eventually I won't be on this planet. Although I joke how I will never die because I can't, the sad reality is hard to ignore. I have to send him out there into the world. We don't even have siblings for him that we can kind of hope to help here. I constantly feel like I am racing to get him ready for a race I won't get to see him finish.
There have been little spurts of wonder here and there lately. Like when I discovered he likes to snack on frozen string beans and I realized I could get a green vegetable in him. Bonus points, I don't even have to cook it. Why he saved me a step in the kitchen! How very thoughtful! Or the time he reached up to touch my shoulder while I was driving and informed me that next week his speech therapist would be on vacation. "Put it in the phone!" He knows the world is in my iPhone. :-) This morning I realized I could get him to finish his glass of milk rather quickly by not saying "finish it" but by saying "empty it down your throat." Picks up glass. Drains the last bit like he's doing a tequila shot and goes on his merry way. I realize there were no whiny tears because the word "finish" to him probably made him think I would take it away. Or so I think. I'm not sure. This kiddo of mine didn't come with a Rosetta Stone.
I always feel a little strange reporting these kinds of little steps to anyone that is not directly connected to autism. Like teachers and families get it but the average Joe, do they just think "Man, Mama Fry is really reaching with her humble brag that the Kiddo made her coffee by putting in the K cup in the machine." (Dudes, that's a life skill! A very important one to Mama, I may add.) I know it's not cooking but hey, it's a start. While frozen green beans might be okay, gnawing on raw chicken would be bad. I don't think he'll ever like cooking like I do. If he knew a few things so I knew he wouldn't starve, I'd feel a little better about it. Seeing as he'll probably living with me, well, forever, it would certainly be nice if he got savvy enough behind a bar to be able to uncork Mama Fry's wine or whip up a cocktail shaker of whiskey sours. Hey, it's math and science. Teachable moments abound!
Panicking about the future really doesn't get much done but I will keep planning for it. I guess I will just embrace the fact that we are "just doin'" and be okay with that. We have had these moments before and then something BIG happens. Fingers crossed it's something good. Now pardon me while I show the Kiddo how to use the microwave to cook fries. I suspect this is a lesson I won't need to teach more than once. ;-)