That Momhood Feeling (#467)with a special request

Do you ever have a moment when, the whatever of the day aside, you are 111% grateful you are a mother? (And a father, too, if I may speak for Jim.)

Charlie was calling me from the shower. “Mahm. Mahm!”

I grabbed a towel from the rack and held it out for him: On his own, Charlie dries his face, pats the towel on his upper torso, and drops it. As I wrapped the towel around him, that “this is what’s so great about being a mom” feeling hit me and Charlie’s smile shone extra-bright, a little damp and scrubbed with soap.

On the weekends since he started school, Charlie has not been smiling too much during the day. There is nothing like the straightforward schedule of school, and Charlie has Monday off too for Yom Kippur. We had a full roster laid out for him this Saturday: practicing piano (twice, as Charlie requested), a long bike ride up some serious hills with Jim pedaling and pushing and calling out encouragement, driving into New York to deliver a very large box of books to Jim’s office (Charlie did smile a bit as he looked down at the panoramic landscape of highways and shipping containers and bridges and the Pulaski Skyway and power plants, at rusting metal and weeds in Meadowland territory), walking down by the Hudson River onto a certain pier where, in July 2005, I dragged back-arching Charlie down the stairs and dogwalkers tried not to look, but I said “my son has autism” anyways. This afternoon, Charlie dawdled by the railing and stared down at the churning water, clung to Jim’s hand whenever a dog passed by, and kept looking, looking at everything—people, buildings, store fronts, garbage cans, cracks in the sidewalk—-all around him.
So it was only at the day’s end, after dinner, brushing his teeth, and a shower, that something said to Charlie, Made it, and his face broadcast a shining happy feeling that he had gotten through another day without major incident (a split water glass, yes; head-bangs, no).

But even if there had been any of those, when I saw my boy, smiling and asking for my help, I would still have gotten that momhood feeling.

Charlie, thanks for yet again making my every day a beautiful, precious and happy journey, a meaningful adventure.

Our October 27th Fordham University conference on Autism and Advocacy will be illustrated by photos/images of children and adults on the autism spectrum in the fullness of their lives (perhaps even accompanied in some images by those who love and care and work alongside them). We’d be delighted to receive digital images that when assembled together, will be shown at the conference (without names or other means of identification) accompanied by music will portray the varieties of human experience as we all know it. Please contact Jim at jafisher AT fordham DOT edu or Kristina at autismland AT gmail DOT com for more information.


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