The Path We Take

CSX Tracks

It’s true. I did not plan on having autism in my life. Who does?! … but I sure do like my tour guide especially on days when everything seems to be going his way as it did this past weekend.

Theo is a huge fan of warmer temps. He has had a long and hard winter, as has the rest of CNY, so as soon as that first taste of spring came around we were out the door to enjoy the sites.

It was as if you could see the fog lifting when he realized he could stay out a little longer, rock in his rocking chair a little longer, all while wearing only one layer. ONE. LAYER.

The next step, to ease himself off the front porch and find his way to his swing in the backyard. Slowly we made his way downstairs, gingerly taking my hand to guide him. He turned the corner… and sprinted as if he had winged feet. And his giggle was loud and genuine and from the belly.

Climbing onto his swing it took him a little longer to cross his legs like a pretzel since he has gotten taller. But once he settled in… his gaze went upward and his face relaxed just a bit.

He was free of winter.

And once he got his wings he remembered his walks and thus began our regular excursions around the neighborhood (which I think is good since the whole neighborhood gets to know us this way — sometimes we’re more vocal than others). But this time something caught his eye: our noisy neighbor — the CSX Railroad tracks. Now, I know he’s aware of the trains especially when they sound their alarms… but, really, he noticed the trains. He stopped in his tracks and watched a freight train. He has never stopped in one spot so long to notice the trains. I sat next to him and pointed out the different cars (coal, shipping containers, engines — then the colors and shapes) and we’d wait to see if a passenger train would whiz by…

Then, following our walk, instead of heading back home he took another route and, to my amazement, he noticed he could walk underneath the overpass. And we did so, repeatedly. I’m not sure what he saw or what he sees, but if there’s one thing about having an autistic kid it’s that they see things differently and they cause you to pause and notice.

I thought about the several times I made my way under that bridge and never, ever, had I looked up to note the structure. Never — until Theo did.

Now, let’s hope this early springtime snow goes away so we can go explore the bridge and beyond. I can’t wait for my little guide to show me how to slow down.

Until next time…

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