Sunday, June 17, 2018

If Only You Could Tell Me

Wonder Boy is a 7-year old child with autism.
I am his grandma. My name is Nonnie.

Dear darling, adored child, what’s your favorite color?

If only you could tell me.

What did you learn in school today? Did you raise your hand, ask a question, answer one? What’s your favorite subject? Music, art, PE? Science, math? English? Speech? Occupational Therapy?

Did you run? Jump rope? Slide? Did you pump yourself high into the sky on a swing? Did you bask in the sun, run with the wind? Did your imagination soar?

Were you a friend today?

Do you like your teachers? Therapists? Classmates? Who do you like the best? Why is he/she your favorite? Do you have a buddy?

I’m here. I’m listening. I want to know everything.

What did you eat for lunch? Are you hungry? Thirsty? Do you want a snack?

Who did you sit next to in Morning Meeting? Laugh with on the playground?

How do you feel inside right now? Do you think in colors, pictures, symbols, letters, words? Tell me. Show me. Help me understand.

What does it mean when you repeat sounds over and over and shield your eyes with flat palms? What are you thinking? Where are you? Take me there too.

What I know:

You like sandals on bare feet. Hugs. Squeezes, massage.

You need to run, jump, bounce, touch and be touched.

You adore your daddy, Stuart Little, Woody from Toy Story.

You’re excellent at matching, sorting, repetition. You thrive on schedule and routine. You do not like to be wrong and prefer to “do it myself.”

You like privacy in the bathroom, alone-time in your room, “close the door please.”

Very slowly, you’re learning to play piano. You can write letters and numbers. You eat almost everything as long as the textures are separated. You seem to prefer red food. Except in popsicles.

Sometimes you need space and quiet to look at books (are you reading?), roll your cars, race your trains.

And sometimes you prefer company, a hand to hold, a friend to jump with on the trampoline. You like your sister close by. You need your daddy to throw you around, toss balls, race…and snuggle. You like hats, Thomas the Train, playing in sand and water.

What did you say? You want a popsicle? Yes, I’ll get you a popsicle! Thank you for asking! Which color do you want? Red, blue, green?

Orange! Thank you for telling me! I’ll get you an orange popsicle.

You’re welcome, Sweetheart. Take it outside please.

How much do I love you? More than there are numbers. Higher than there is sky. Wider than any ocean. Beyond the place birds fly.

But dear, darling, adored child, what do you think, feel, dream? What niggles at your heart? Tickles your mind?

What do you want to be when you grow up?

What’s your favorite color?

If only you could tell me.

1 comment:

Charles Hedrick said...

Tears filled my eyes!
Love,
Dad