Live and Learn

Right before the boys left for camp, I learned something interesting about Bryan but didn’t take the time to blog. Bryan loves his ipad, shocking, and uses it in his room to look at all sorts of thing. Teenage Bryan can be found looking at photos of women he likes on fb, the rest you can take from there. He also likes to text me. Bryan is not a great speaker; he often gets words out of order, as if his brain knows what he wants to say, but he either doesn’t know the proper order of things or one of those loose wires in the autism brain just doesn’t make the proper connection. However in texting, which is visual, he gets it right. I am finding that I am having more age appropriate conversations with him over text than in person. So….before he left I texted with him quite often, mostly when I was at work, to find out more about what he was thinking. It sounds kind of basic, but if you are an autism parent you know any improved communication, any tiny drop of insight into what your kid is really thinking about, is a treasure. I fully intend to do this more when he returns. It is also cool to see him type. He types pretty well. His handwriting has improved over the years, thanks to thousands of dollars of OT and some growing up, but it just feels more grown up to see his words in typeset rather than in kid handwriting.

Bryan, Jason, and I went up to NY to get them to camp. Bryan goes on a camp bus in Manhattan and Jason was going this year to a friend’s house in NJ and going on the camp bus with him. I am a New Yorker through and through, and my boys know that they are in for an action packed few days of seeing friends and having experiences. I love that Jason kept saying, “we’ve been in NY for 3 hours and I haven’t had NY Pizza or a bagel yet!”.  I am so proud of the progress Bryan makes each year of controlling his anxiety about leaving for camp. Last year he didn’t eat or sleep for 24 hours. This year he did both and managed to laugh and have fun with Jason and me. I was so proud of him when he got on the bus and held my tears in until I was no longer visible to him. Tears of joy, relief, and pride. Jason and I were having fun talking about how Bryan did a great job!!

The night Bryan left we went up to visit my BFF and her family. Jason and her daughter have a great bond; they had not seen each other in 2 or 3 years but picked up like it was yesterday. He and I were sharing a bed that night (heaven for me since he’s a great snuggler) and when we were getting ready for bed he said “Mom I really miss Bryan”. Sounds fairly normal right? wrong!! When your brother has autism and talks non stop and for the past 24 hours has repeated the same question thousands of time, it is somewhat shocking he would say this to me. But then I had a moment to reflect on it; for him, he has never had a sibling without autism, he only knows his brother is away and they won’t see each other for seven weeks. It does not matter to him what the challenges are, he loves him with all his heart. I was embraced by the warmth and maturity that is Jason. A minute or so later he said, “mommy snuggle me.” Oh ok…. sheer heaven.

So now that they are gone and enjoying themselves, I try to prep for when they get back. I am working on chore checklists for them and making sure they have what they will need for school. However, the most important thing I am doing now is thinking. It is a very underrated activity, yet crucial in parenting or any endeavor where you want to excel. I am trying to work on myself to think about their needs, what are the emotional motivators and what are the requirements for me to help them charter the teen years. Funny how the quiet is wonderful and relaxing yet I long for the noise and horseplay.

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