… Walking around like you don’t have a care in the world!
Have you ever just gone out for a walk and along the way start skipping, or twirling, or giggling?
I have. At 40 years old I, in fact, just did ALL of that tonight! And it was wonderful.
Why? Because that’s what my son, Theodore, wanted to do.
While the girls were off playing soccer with coach Dad, me and my ASD prince went out for a walk. While on our street it can get pretty busy and cars and trucks rush through trying to skip a light or two on Route 5. It’s not a super busy street but as you could imagine at certain times it is busier than others. And people LOVE to speed down the street.
So we walk down the sidewalk, hand in hand, to the end of our street, cross over, and head toward the paved trails near the CSX/Amtrak RR lines.
It is here, in the late April sunshine, on a day that felt more like June, we dropped hands and walked all over that trail like we OWNED it. We skipped. We hopped. We ran. We stopped and cuddled. We took in the sun. We felt the wind in our hair. We twirled. We giggled. We looked at doggies. We splashed through puddles. We ran a few steps forward, turned around, and ran back toward each other.
Had my girls been there, they would have done the same and no one would have looked twice.
But somehow when Theo does it, and he is in full-on-happy mode, he likes to vocalize and make really LOUD happy noises. His gait is awkward. His movements aren’t the smoothest…and those flappy hands are always moving.
That’s what my non-verbal Autistic son does. And he’s not afraid to show it or do it. That’s a positive. To do what you want — twirl, flap, vocalize, hum — and to do so not caring if you have the approval of others.
And this comes after a day in which Theo did not want to do much of anything at school. But his day improved. His night got even better. And isn’t that what we all want… just a chance to get out and do what we want in the sun?
Yes, autism is hard. Yes, it is challenging. Yes there are times when all we want to do is sit and rock the time away. And, yes, we have bad days too just like everyone else. It’s just that sometimes those bad spells multiply because we can’t get our feelings across.
So next time you go out for a walk think of my Theo, do a twirl or two, and live, laugh and love in the moment.