The Picture That Prompted A Conversation


My friend took this photo of me a few weeks ago while at a work event. It was a rare occasion where I had my hair loose and wore shoes with a real heel. But I'm not one to take (or share) full length photos of myself - ever. I prefer the selfie. With a selfie I don't have to worry about my arms or love handles. (I'm working on my body issues...) So while I liked the little outfit I put together, I didn't feel the need to share it on social media because I was self-conscious about how I looked.

The other evening Norrin was scrolling through the pictures on my phone. He likes to do that. He especially likes to look at pictures of himself. And then he came across this picture of me. He stared at it for while as if trying to figure something out. (On the day the picture was taken, I left for work after Norrin was on the bus and by the time I returned home, he was asleep.)

He shoved the phone in my face. "Where were you?" 

Like many kids with autism, Norrin has no spacial awareness and when he wants to show me something he puts it so close in my eyes, the object becomes a blur. And then I gently push the object away and remind Norrin that he doesn't have to get so close. But I was so surprised by his question that I immediately responded. 

Me: I was at a restaurant.

Norrin: What restaurant?

Me: At Blue Water Grill.

Norrin: Where is Blue Water Grill?

Me: Blue Water Grill is in the City.

Norrin: What city

Me: Manhattan.

Norrin: Where is Manhattan?

I reminded Norrin that we go into Manhattan all the time and that momma works in Manhattan. And that was the end of our conversation. He handed me the phone and walked out of the room. I stared at the photo for a while, a stupid grin on my face savoring our mother son moment. 

It was a major moment. He asked me 5 very appropriate questions in a row! We had a real conversation. (Yes, I teared up a little.)

Norrin is verbal and he talks a lot. But we rarely have back and forth dialogue. Most of our conversations revolve around topics Norrin is interested in or scripted speech. When he speaks to us, it's almost always to tell us something that he wants or needs.

Norrin saw this picture and he didn't care how I looked. He probably didn't see any of the flaws that I see. He just saw me, somewhere unfamiliar without him and he wanted to know why.

He's been talking so much lately and it's taking me by surprise. The other evening, he even said he loved me at bedtime. He said it all on his own, without me saying it first.  

To have this little moment, a moment that so many parents of typical kids experience every day - is HUGE in our world. It's a reminder that he's making progress. Sometimes in the crazy of our day to day lives - progress is hard to see. Not seeing progress can be discouraging. Feeling discouraged makes me wonder if I am doing enough. Then mom guilt kicks in. And then I worry. Guilt and worry suck.    

Last week was a rough week. And I got not one, but two reminders that Norrin was making progress...at the precise moment that I needed it.

4 comments:

  1. Wow. This made me tear up. As a fellow autism mom I know this is a HUGE deal. Go Norrin and cheers to many more milestones. Lisa and Joseph: I know you are so proud. xoxo

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  2. What a wonderful moment. Thanks for sharing!

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  3. Go Norrin! Go you! I for one think you look lovely in your outfit.

    And oh, look, BlogHer14 shoutouts! I met Miz KP AND Maribel in real life on Friday & Saturday.

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  4. Awesome! Your son sounds very similar to mine re: verbal speech. I understand how completely excited you must be ! Yay for progress !

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