Saved from the Sewer (#343)

It is possible that you may be thinking that by “sewer” I am referring to the taboo of disability, to the “the taboo smells, the dirt, the disgusting, the polluted” and the monstrous identity that our autistic kids too often have foisted on them.
It is possible. Bad things and dirt do seem to be necessary Autismland evils.

What actually got saved from the sewer was the cushion for Charlie’s booster seat, which itself fell into a gutter-become-a-running-stream thanks to this evening’s thunderstorms. We had gone to get Charlie’s favorite Friday dinner, brown noodles and just as I parked the car, the rain became nearly hail. I started up the car again to drop off my parents and Charlie at the restaurant; just as they were getting out, the strap of my mom’s backpack caught onto the carseat, which plummeted into the raging gutter. My mom picked it up as my dad barely rescued the cushion from disppearing into the sewer’s depths.

What’s a 75-pound child doing sitting in booster seat, you may ask?

Well, it does help to boost Charlie up and give him an elevated view of the passing scenery.

And, Charlie liking his habits—those noodles on Friday and his preference for Monday and for schooldays—mean that he has been sitting in his booster seat rather longer than a boy of his size might.

Hence, saving the carseat cushion from the sewer is to keep just enough of a sense of order in Charlie’s world at a time of massive transition. Though it could be said, so many of our efforts over the past seven years have been to keep Charlie away from, out of, the sewer of inapproriate placements, sub-par services, and no dignity.

It’s not heroism (although I do have to thank my dad for grabbing the carseat cushion just before it was washed down into New Jersey gutter). It’s just what an Autismland parent does.

Like taking a perfectly centered photo of the front entrance of Charlie’s new school for his schedule (or, as Charlie says, “skedd-yulll”). Like not saying “Look what you just did” when Charlie threw the pot of rice he had just requested and—upset at having done that—had to be held by me and my dad until he had kicked out his anger. Like just sitting with my back half-turned to Charlie as he calmed down on the couch and pushed his feet against me. Like reading only a few pages of a birthday present book, Owen, before Charlie ran off so as not to make book-reading a chore rather than a lovely pleasure. Like saying just enough but not too many times to my anxious boy “Dad is coming home soon” from a business trip and letting Charlie run onto the porch to check, even though it was dark and still raining. Like pausing just long enough when Charlie said “HI” and looked me full-on in the eye, and pressed the lower half of his face onto mine, and gave me a bearish hug.

In truth, who is saving whom?

5 Responses to “Saved from the Sewer (#343)”
  1. KC'sMommy says:

    Hi Kristina,
    Charlie looks so much like his Grandmother:) He sure is one cute kiddo!

  2. Metaphors Schmetaphors, I read that as intended, sewer for sewer.

    I once dropped my house keys down a drain cover, there was no option but to lift the cover and put my whole arm down, risking the apocryphal alligators or whatever lurks down there to recover said keys.

  3. I guess sometimes a sewer is just a sewer.

    Charlie definitely takes after my mother’s side of the family in his looks…..and my husband’s in his height.

  4. Julia says:

    I see “sewer” and I think about an acquaintance who likes to make things and whose sewing machine broke a few months ago, and toy again with the idea of lending her mine for a couple of months…. 🙂

  5. Ray says:

    Hi, Kristina
    I am Ray of the site
    I passed in its site and vi that Charlie is very pretty ,and great making great progress!!!!
    I was very happy a great
    kiss for you and Charlie
    Raimunda Gonçalves Mélo ( Ray)

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