Monday, March 26, 2012

Look Mom! Yes Hands

“Well, I kinda sorta looked….”



And you wonder why my friends think I should be medicated full-time…

Six weeks from now Sean will be turning 14 years old.  Surely, most kids his age are riding their bikes in the streets and exploring places without direct parental supervision.

Why then as I’m sitting in a chair on the driveway, my cross-legged appendages feverishly swinging back and forth, can I barely contain my nerves as I watch Sean ride his bike into the street?


Because he only kinda sorta looked….

I can understand not looking at people’s faces due to his autism.  I can understand that and so many other things.

But seriously Sean, you need to look!!!!

Luckily the infraction of making a left turn onto our street without even so much as a glance backwards occurred within viewing distance of my home and boy, did I ever give it to him good when he pulled into the driveway.

“Yea, well, I looked before.”

“Before what?”

“Before that runaway bus streaked down our road???” my mind shouted.


Now I know that just getting our kids to ride bicycles or passing any “typical” milestone is a big deal and I really should count my blessings that Sean is so high functioning.

But that also comes with a conundrum and a price that I’m not always willing to pay.

Do I let him go off on his bicycle and risk all the horrors that my mind can imagine?  Or do I keep him doing the same small driveway-to-driveway loop that his 6-year old sister is beginning to master?

I think to Carissa…Sean’s 12-year old sister.  Would she look?  Does she look? 
Oh the horrors of parenting!

I’m just as overprotective of her as I am of Sean. 

Carissa will roll her eyes and give me the “Oh Mom!” when I insist upon watching her cross the street down at the corner.  I’ve reluctantly given up trying to watch every step she takes as she walks to her friend’s house but I still do quietly cry out “Don’t run” when she kicks it into high gear.

What if she fell?

What if??

Of course if I gave into that question I would never let any of my children out of the house.

So I won’t…. give into the question that is… because two days into Spring Break and the idea of not letting them out of the house is the essence of insanity.

But I will try and get it into Sean’s head that he has to be aware of his surroundings.

Autistic or not, he has to look.

I thought my little overbearing-mom-lecture mini-freakout on the driveway would have made an impression on him until we were exiting a grocery store later in the day.

Sure enough, Sean walked out the door, gave a quick glance at who knows what, put his head down, and began to walk out into the parking lot.

“Look up!” I called to him as I threw my arms up – half out of futility and half out of prayer to some unforeseen Autism Angel.

“Look up.”

Am I frustrated?  Yes…  It is yet another thing to add to the daily lessons that go into sculpting Sean.

It’s difficult to know just when to let him go and find his own way and when to keep him close to you.

I guess it’s instinct.   Mamma Bear protective on my part.  Autism on his. 

Tomorrow the weather turns nasty so the bikes will stay inside.   After that I can’t exactly say when I’ll let him venture off the driveway again.

As for the parking lot… one of the things I love about Sean and his autism is that he still likes to hold my hand.

And I’ll take Sean and everything wonderful and scary and complex about him and his hand any day!

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