I've never really been a "stop and smell the roses” kind of person. In our family that person is my daughter. We'll be in a rush but not her, she's the one lagging behind looking at butterflies or anything interesting - just taking it all in while we're desperately needing to leave to get where we need to be. But that's her and we've grown to appreciate her and her process - we know who she is and we learn from her. This ability which she has acquired naturally, is not so natural for others, some of us need to be taught to slow down and appreciate beauty that surrounds us, some of us need to take a break and smell the roses at some point in our lives.
So yes we think we know our daughter...and we think we know our son. Well, maybe only a little bit...but what if we are wrong about what we “know”?
Here we are making assumptions about our children, thinking that we know them and what do they do? They turn around and surprise us...boom just like that they do something out of the box that makes you think ok clearly we’ve got this thing wrong.
For instance the other day when my daughter was outside playing with neighbourhood friends, making plans to use flowers to make perfumes. My son and I were also outside while they were busy running up and down collecting flowers. I was just watching, making sure everything was ok and my son was running around, singing and drumming on his chest - usual scenario...or so I thought. After a couple of minutes of running around, my son went over to a hibiscus plant and shouted out to my daughter, "look at the flowers...Do you see the flowers? Do you see the flowers over here?"
I think I was in shock and so was my daughter because it took her a few seconds to register what he was saying and to respond. She came over looked at the flowers and said “thank you, these are beautiful!” Then she glanced up at me beaming probably trying to convey something like "did you see that Mommy...did you hear that?!
I couldn’t stop beaming as well!
Since that evening I've been thinking about that little flower conversation. What was I meant to learn from it? That as much as my son seems like he is in his own world at times he is in fact very much aware of what’s going on? Or that he knows his sister and knows that she loves flowers, so wanted to show them to her? Or both?
I really don’t know, but it’s becoming clearer and clearer to me that with regard to my son and his autism, I KNOW NOTHING - like John Snow from Game of Thrones. (yep here I am, a hopeless fan #sorrynotsorry).
One thing I do know though is that both of My children are growing up, evolving and changing and basically we the Parents, are still figuring things out. So while we continue figuring things out and our children keep growing like weeds we’re going to appreciate the small things and smell the roses and the flowers. We’re going to do some cloud gazing and point out what we see, we’re going to look at butterflies and ladybugs and all things that make us appreciate life, because at the end of the day it’s the moments...those little things, that will be appreciated and cherished the most.