Life with our kids seems to zoom by doesn't it? Yesterday was one of those types of days that reminds me how far Patrick has really come.
I have a small family. I am an only child and most of my extended family lives out of state. Except 2 of my cousins and my one grandmother. My one cousins family we are extremely close with and we frequent their house quite often. Their house is made up of my cousin and her husband and their 3 girls, 3 cats, and one very loving doggy. My cousins family has no shortage of friends and their house is always hopping with people. Teenagers, tweens, kids, adults all going about in typical normal everyday fashion. Chatting in the kitchen while cooking, playing video games, laughing, joking, watching tv, running around, dogs barking. In Patrick's world, this is NOT fun. All the noise is enough for him to run right back out the door and into the car.
I remember one summer when Patrick was 3 year old, summer 2011, he was at his worst, we went over to her house for a birthday party for my younger cousin. There was EASILY 30 people there. Music was playing, kids were running around, adults encased in chit chat. Patrick was over whelmed the moment we got there. BUT we pressed on, saying HI to everyone. I hate this part. Everyone LOVES Patrick and would expect him to say HI back or even look at them and it never happened. Multiply this x30. There is already a pit in my stomach. My cousins kids always look forward to seeing Patrick but when he wouldn't interact with them, of course, they moved on to their friends and honestly I don't blame them. Bless my mothers heart she would always try and take him, to occupy him, so I could go and chat, have a drink, or just feel normal and socialize but it would more times than not ever work and if it did maybe it would last for 5 mins. So Patrick and I would press on. He would want to watch TV but honestly I never wanted him too but I would allow him sometime, just to settle in to his surrounding. So there we are sitting inside in the middle of July, FUN! BUT we pressed on.
Dinner time... OMG my cousin is the best cook... but Patrick would already of had dinner and bless my mothers heart again, she would always offer to look after him so I can eat. BUT again most of the time it wouldn't work and Id be sitting inside (noise was still too much for him) with Patrick eating my dinner, while everyone would be outside socializing and having fun.
I longed for company but nobody would of known because I would put on the best face possible and smile and answer questions with "no we are alright" or "it's ok". A part of me wished someone would see through my wall and just join me in Patrick's world. BUT no one ever did and once again, I cant blame them. Sitting inside watching Gabba vs socializing outside.. hmmm.
Than the inevitable, the meltdown of all meltdowns combined with my exhaustion equaled us leaving. Always before dessert, always before presents, ALWAYS. I love my cousin dearly and always dreaded telling her we were going. At first she was fine with it and would say "I understand" and give me a smile but after a while of this ALWAYS happening, she started to get disappointed.... ya join the club. It went from "I understand" to "You never stay" and this time when we got in the car I lost it. I cried and cried and cried and yelled at my dashboard.
All the frustration, the longing, the wanting, the sadness, watching all the kids playing and laughing. Watching the other kids playing with the other little ones bc they play back. Wanting soooooo much for patrick to experience that. 3 years of that just boiled over that night on the 45min drive home. BUT nobody knew, nobody would of really because it never showed, I never said anything.
Fast forward to yesterday, 3/17/13, My cousins husbands birthday. Now Patrick as of late has been enjoying being at her house, strange but VERY nice, BUT we have also not been over on a busy night with more than just the 3 kids, a friend or two, and my cousin since the early summer. Today there was about 10 people at the house. Since it was a Sunday, it was low key. Patrick walked right in, said HI to everyone and went right into the living room were the NASCAR race was on. HE LOVES NASCAR. He jumped onto the couch and was happy. It was nice. I was able to roam around, say HI, give hugs, talk, HELP, with no worry of what Patrick was doing. I poked my head into the living room a bit later and he was playing ball with his 12 year old cousin. I went back to the kitchen. Poked back a little later. He was cuddling on the couch with my cousins husband. AWESOME.
Time for dinner...
With out thinking I set Patrick at the table with his dinner and we waited for everyone. All of a sudden I hear... "wait we don't have enough settings, Lisa I didn't even think of Patrick joining us". This was not a common thing and actually the first time ever he joined us for dinner at the table. As he is usually too overwhelmed to even sit still, let along tolerate it. BUT there he was, sitting very nicely with a smile on his face. So dinner proceeded, all of us a little more squished because of the extra setting but very happy because Patrick was with us. Dinner came and went with out incident. He actually sat for a long time after he was done with out any problems. He was smiling and laughing and you could tell he was very proud of himself.
We stayed for presents...
We stayed for dessert.....
Now here comes the moment. The moment that, as a mom to a "non-typical" child, is the best! MEMA (cousins husbands mother) made this UNBELIEVABLE looking cake. I mean this thing was FAB! After I tasted it, I praised her. She replied "you never had my special cake? I make it ever year". I think and think and think. I would of remembered this cake for sure and answer "no". I look up to my cousin and say "because we are NEVER here for dessert!!" It was a revelation! It just really dawned on me how far my little man has come. As he is sitting there eating his favorite crunchies and smiling back at me. My eyes start getting teary. I have a huge smile on my face. We did it! We made it through the party with out even trying! It was seamless the day, no worries. It felt soo good! AMAZING actually.
It is crazy to think of all the work my son has put in the last 2 years. How hard he tries and how he does want to join into everyday events but sometimes he just can't. I wish I would of taken a photo of his proud face smiling back at me. He knew... he knew how big that moment was for him and I. He knew what he had accomplished. As we weren't the last ones to leave last night, we weren't the FIRST! That in itself is something to celebrate.