Me and Jacob

Me and Jacob

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Autism Is A Beach

It was a few days before we left for the beach when I told Jacob where we were going and what we were doing. This trip would be a little different. Instead of traveling the entire four hours to Orange Beach, I decided it would be fun to spend the night with one of my high school best friends. She's about to be receiving her greatest blessing, one that she's longed for years for. A baby. A daughter. I wanted to hear all about the story of their adoption journey. I also wanted to plumage through her cute pink, flowery clothes. I know nothing about cute, pink, flowery clothes. I can tell you all about madras plaid shorts, polo shirts, dirt, race cars, jeeps...oh and let's not forget the doors!! Oh gosh, the doors!!! I also know more about Hot Wheels cars than I ever desired to know. Jacob couldn't grasp why we were staying somewhere along the way. He pestered me, relentlessly, for 2 days. He badgered me about why, where, when, who? It got to the point that I wanted to just stay at home. I didn't want to be in the car for an hour and a half listening to him say "mommy" for the thousandth time.

We made it through the first night on our trip and packed everything up to head to the beach. Now he had moved on to asking "Mommy, now we're going to the cabin?" every few minutes. Even Caleb started sighing and saying "She already answered you!!" I really wish I could find a way to calm his anxiety about our plans. I've just started explaining to him that it makes me angry to answer the same questions over and over. 

We arrived at the beach. Went onto the sand and immediately his anxiety about our plans was gone. He'd arrived. Arrived at, what I believe is, his favorite place on earth. He seems free at the beach. I love watching him run around on the beach. He doesn't have to talk to anyone and he can run around unhindered by rules and plans. 

Jacob seemed very normal at the beach this time. He seemed to enjoy time with the family and his time alone playing outside. He encouraged play with the neighborhood kids and enjoyed being with them. He even rode around the block with my dad and Caleb on his scooter and the whole time he was calling my dad "Captain." This time was easier. It's almost as if I had forgotten that his autism hinders him so badly. It's almost normal. Well except for when he grabs a box of Pop Tarts off the counter and darts away from my sister in law, runs halfway down the street laughing and screaming "these don't have gluten in them, I'm going to eat them!!" 

I remember growing up looking forward to the beach and hoping that the red flag wasn't out. Praying that it didn't rain and that the waves were perfect. I also remember the times that the rain would come out of no where and we'd grab all our belongings and scramble to shelter.

Autism reminds me of the beach. Beautiful. Constant, yet unpredictable. It's like being so excited to finally get there only to find double red flags. It's getting your umbrella, chairs and beach blanket set up perfectly and then in rolls the rain and you have to pack up and run for shelter. It's relaxing by the shore and getting clobbered by an unexpected wave. It's the beautiful calmness of the view and then feeling the gritty sand in unwanted places. It's the beautiful water crashing onto the shore only to be bringing in jellyfish and seaweed. It's the lulling sound of the ocean and then you hear the faint sounds of your child..."mom, mommy, momma, mom, mom, mom, mommy, momma, mom, mom, mom, mommy, mom, momma, mom, mom, momma, mommy, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, mommy, mom!" It's standing next to something so beautiful but something that's bigger than we can ever imagine with scary unknown things lurking in the water.

Regardless of all the things that could go wrong, we come back year after year to this special place to take in the beauty, to feel the sand between our toes, to stand next to something that's bigger than us and to hear the waves crashing on the shore.

Autism is a beach...beautiful, constant, unpredictable, special.

My Napoleon Dynamite with Kevin Bacon hair.


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