Gustavo has a wonderful memory. These are his drawings on some of his favorite subjects– Godzilla and an old video game. He has notebooks of drawings that provide me with a glimpse into his thoughts. The cat is acting curator.
Gustavo is now a teenager. I’m in denial that he is taller than me even in the face of photos clearly showing he is literally a head and shoulder above me. As I look up to see his face when he stands before me, I see my boy. I see him as he is now and back then. A special vision that is gifted to short people who love growing children.
Before he was old enough for kindergarden, Gustavo had a school teacher. He also had a physical therapist and a speech therapist. I remember doubting the speech therapist was really on the same level as the physical therapist. The physical therapist worked out of a doctor’s office or at the school. She was official looking. The speech therapist came to our house and brought toys and used fun games to coax words from our son. I was amazed and saddened all at once. How could he make sounds and almost words for a stranger?
I started volunteering for a parent support group for families of children with special needs. I joined something I fought– admission and acceptance that something was different. The difference was bigger than my son being diagnosed with autism. Our family entered a new phase– one that opened a door that led to so many different paths. In many ways, the conversations and experience forced us into a life that required more than a light connection in areas we didn’t even know we were disconnected in. We are now the proud owners of a hot mess of spliced, frayed, well connected and hotwired connections. A hot happy crazy mess.