For What It’s Worth

Filed Under (Adam, Family, Joy, Single Parenthood) by Estee on 13-06-2010

I have to admit that I’m adjusting to my new role, still, as single mother. There are lovely days, like yesterday, when I want to spend my time with Adam. We awaited a thunderstorm that never came, but watched Disney’s Mulan anyway — a movie Adam has not yet seen. Adam is more interested in watching movies from start to finish now that his attention is stronger, his awareness keen. In the “early days,” Adam could only sit still for about ten or so minutes and movies were simply not possible. These are rather nice days, like the time today we spent walking around the Scarborough Bluffs, listening to the waves gently swell upon the shore and watching the geese fly off as elegantly as immaculately set-up dominoes. Adam lead me to the shore-side restaurant and we ate together. I’ll admit that sometimes I miss having someone to share this with us, and then again I cherish every moment now because I have learned that life changes in a moment.

Sometimes we spend our afternoons by the pool and he is content in what I have called his nest (see picture) — I have this chair outside even though the rain is determined to wither the wicker away. He will curl up after a swim and stare at the maple leaves hanging above him in the sunlight, reluctant to depart at my declarations that he must be getting cold and it’s time for a hot shower. No, he prefers to cuddle up and listen to the birds. I don’t blame him — it was the same chair I healed in after surgeries a couple of years ago and I dragged it outside because it’s far better to heal outside than in.

As his treat, I purchased Adam a new nest for his room today so I could put it in the corner where he has come to read his books. I placed it under a canopy I also created for him with twinkling lights when I set up his room in his new house. Like all things these days, it was over-wrapped. We arrived home and I was determined to get this simple task done for him. He helped me lug a bag inside and I asked him to play on his own nearby. He wanted to eat, he wanted to do something else — he wanted my help.

“Adam, mommy doesn’t have any help so you have to be my helper today,” I said. New single-mother talk, I’m thinking. But I’m also thinking how frustrated I am over trying to do everything as quickly as possible, wishing right now, in this moment, that I had someone to do it for me so I can turn to Adam instead.

“Just wait, Adam,” I say with irritated breath, unraveling yards of ties and cardboard with an inappropriate pair of kiddie scissors that were handy. It’s me that I realize I’m telling to wait, though. Adam is doing just fine.

I struggle to carry the big hoop of the chair to the upstairs and set the chair up, going as fast as I can.

“Come see, Adam. Come upstairs,” I am now asking after I just told him to stay put. I imagine my son thinks I’m nuts. He obliges me and goes into the chair and curls into it contentedly reading his series of I Spy phonics books, reminding me that “it’s not a horse; it’s a duck.” His language skills have improved. He talks in more sentences, in particular to tell me everything he sees. I suck in some air and sit on the edge of his bed, enjoying him enjoying the chair. I like to watch Adam happy and calm. Heck, I like to experience myself happy and calm.

I know I have to prepare dinner. The grandparents are coming soon, Adam was searching hi and lo in my kitchen for something, as usual, to eat. It’s a wonder the boy is so slim with all he eats.

I am breathing more calmly thinking that I know I can’t do everything at every moment I want to. I know that something’s gotta give; of some things I must let go at certain moments, and maybe even for life. I am still in that growing phase of learning to be on my own as a parent. Although life isn’t bad, it isn’t the same when you have to do everything yourself. I am learning, still, after two years to be okay with this.

While I get a lot of snuggles from Adam and a lot of kisses too, I realized that I don’t get a lot of “how are you’s?” from anyone, really. I don’t get the “how are you really doing?” kind of caring-talk. I suddenly realize it when Adam pops out of his room and hollers from the top of the stairs, “I wub you!”

“What?” I ask loudly as I am in the kitchen preparing food.

“I wub you mum!” All his words were spoken with force but with the same intonation. Then, I hear him go back into the room and shut the door.

I am stunned. I think Adam is saying thank you for the chair, for his little nest. I think he totally knows how much I love him.

For what it’s worth, I needed that.

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About Me


ESTÉE KLAR

I’m a PhD candidate at York University, Critical Disability Studies, with a multi-disciplinary background in the arts as a curator and writer. I am the Founder of The Autism Acceptance Project (www.taaproject.com), and an enamoured mother of my only son who lives with the autism label. I like to write about our journey, critical issues regarding autism in the area of human rights, law, and social justice, as well as reflexive practices in (auto)ethnographic writing about autism.