Tomorrow my twin guys W. and J. will turn age 20. Wow. I’m not sure I’m ready for this, physically and karma-wise. Yeah I don’t have the gifts bought or wrapped but that’s in the plans. The bigger issue is the journey beyond and the ticking clock toward adult services and life outside the known schooling world. As we all know.
Certainly my guys don’t know the significance of turning the page on a decade. They barely can count beyond 12. And their ability to accurately select 4 forks for dinner also varies. Yesterday being Friday, I baked special cupcakes for school so I know they know it’s coming. And we’ve been talking up our usual birthday routine of allowing them to pick the restaurant of choice for the big day. It’s a precious ritual. We print 3 pages of photos of about a half dozen favorite eateries, and spend days refining the choice. Then, at the last minute, every years for the past 6 or 7 years, the fingers move swiftly to – the Chinese buffet. Where they’ll pig out like fiends, and we’ll laugh and capture smiles rarely seen even on a favorite mountain top.
I thought I’d feel more sad than I do at these birthdays. I actually was going to start the last paragraph saying “Sadly my guys don’t know the significance…” but stopped because deep down I don’t feel this gut-wrenching sadness. True, I’ll go to my grave feeling like I could have done one more thing to fix them, and I can’t count the number of times I apologize to my spouse for being a bad mother when limitations of being human, needing to work, or whatever restrict me from doing 120% of everything personally for the boys.
Would I wish autism on anyone? Of course not. But my guys are such genuinely pure and wonderful spirits that it’s hard to feel dejected, at least for long.
Last night was a rare night out with the ladies, and although I barely let myself schedule it in my usual too-work-focused personal priorities list, it was a gift. Wine, honest talk about funerals and divorces but about honoring what they teach, and moving on from them, made me feel loved and respected for who I am. The even bigger gift was on the bean bag chair in the basement when I opened the door from the garage. J., grinning ear to ear, comfy by himself in the quiet of a sensory room, after having just helped his dad in a late-night errand run to work. Meanwhile W. was laser-focused on his favorite computer puzzle play and although not sporting a grin, he looked like I felt when I’m writing or baking bread – immersed.
My guys have joy, even with autism. They have brought me to such a better place, and I to them. Now they sleep, but I’m reaching out my hand spiritually today as I have the honor of guiding them from one decade to the next. We will share it, revel in it, and use our love from it to change the world.