December 30, 2009

And the Eyes Have It

Brown, orange and green.

Those colors swirl in the eyes of my son. It is a beautiful combination.

And the lashes ...... oh, the lashes. I sometimes wonder how he can even see anything. Don't his lashes get in the way? They are so long, so beautiful.

What lies below the surface of my son's eyes?

Those eyes of my child, those sparkling, beautiful eyes, see so much more than what most of us see. Of that, I am certain.

Just before he turned three, his obsession-of-the-moment was water bottles. Who knows why. It is just one of the many things I can include on the list of my son's former quirky obsessions -- things that started to drive me so very crazy that I thought I might lose all sense of reason. And, then, one day, for whatever reason, they stopped being important to him. And he was on to something else. But when he was an old-two and a young-three, my son LOVED empty water bottles. He loved to throw and roll them on the ground. Over and over and over. I am not talking some cute little game here, people. I am talking "weird."

Autism weird.

I never knew why water bottles were all the rage for my son back in the summer of '06. Still don't. Was it the sound of the bottle bouncing on the ground? Was it the movement? I suspect it was the latter. My boy is mesmerized by movement. Visual stims, some might say. The way the water from the faucet ripples into a full tub. The way the leaves blow in a strong wind. Reflections. Shadows. He is fascinated by them all.

During his water bottle stage, my son could spot a single water bottle from 100 yards. He could pick it out amidst a mountain of clutter. We could be in a crowded, noisy, busy environment -- a community swimming pool, an amusement park, the zoo -- and the second someone abandoned a water bottle, my boy would pounce. I wonder now if his need for that bottle wasn't like an addict's need for drugs. It was so extreme that, when his dad and I would take him on one of our outings to the local pool, one of us would go in first and move the recycling bin full of empty bottles out of our son's eye-sight. And, as the summer progressed, we learned that "out of eyesight," when it came to our son's eyes, was an increasingly difficult burden. It was as if the boy had eyes, not only on the front and back of his head, but also extending from a ten foot antenna attached to the top of his noggin.

There was no safe spot for a bottle to hide.

He sees things, my boy. He sees some things long before I do. And sometimes I see them ONLY because he has seen them first.

As any of you who know my son can attest, nobody can spot a tray of cupcakes before my boy. He could be standing with his back to the crowd, supposedly immersed in his own little ritual, and if someone brought in a chocolate cake, or a box full of ice cream sandwiches, or even a bag of peppermints, he would turn on a dime.

I am telling you, his vision extends a full 360 degrees.

So, what, then, does my son see about this world, that, I in my 34-plus years, have never noticed?

How many things does he see that I always will miss?

I try, some days more than others, to see things through my child's eyes.

I really do sit back some times and watch those trees. It is an effort, but if I really try ... if I really try to let go of the stress, the worry, the fear .... I can lose myself in the water cascading down a creek bed. It is only for a moment, because God knows I also have to make sure that Daniel isn't hurling himself heard-first into that creek bed.

But, in those moments, when I am trying so hard to see the world as my child does, I wonder how much happier we would be if we could tune out the words ... if we could tune out the babble, the chatter, and the shouting ... if we could simply ignore the sermons, the lectures, the arguments, and the pontificating ....

If only he had the words to tell me, that sweet boy of mine. If only he had the words to tell me how much I miss, each and every day, because I get so wrapped up in words...

If only he could tell me just how amazing this world is, when you really let go of the noise and focus on the simply amazing .....

I am trying, my dear boy. Honest, I am. I am trying so hard to see the beauty I take for granted every day. I am trying so hard to focus on the world as you see it. And, yet, at the same time, I am trying so hard to bring you into this noisy, speech-filled world. I want you to be a part of it, as much as you possibly can.

I want you to know exactly what it means when I tell you I love you.

I know that I see love in those eyes of yours, my son. When you bring that gorgeous face of yours and stare deep into my eyes, the reflection of love that I see is every bit as real as the words that come from your sister each night when she tells me how much she loves me.

And I know that I do not always show you the patience you deserve. That I get way too caught up in the importance of words.

But, without a doubt, there is no greater beauty than the love in your eyes, dear son. And, despite all of the stress, and all of the worry, my eyes have forever been changed as a result of being your mother.


  1. I stumbled upon your blog tonight through a follower of my own. This post is so touching.
    I saw an Uncle Julio's reference...
    are you in Big D? I grew up in Plano and am very close to moving my children back for family support and better schooling for my son. Would love to talk to you more if you are in fact living there!

  2. Oh, wow! And there's my site on your blog list :)
    I am constantly amazed to find that other people actually read the garbage I write...ha!