Dawson’s anxiety has been rising over the last month. It is palatable. You can taste the bitterness of his tears as he screams over a broken pinwheel. As he wraps his fingers around my arm and screeches “NO” when we arrive at Mae Mae’s t-ball game, I want to push away that plate that is autism. Because stepping out of the car to go sit and watch his sister’s game at a place he has never been before is like asking me to eat okra. It feels ooey gooey, yucky, scary.
So Dawson seeks what he knows right now. Nothing new, just the traditions that have become our family. Trips to Wal-Mart, Target, and Lowes. As the world changes around him — flowers blooming, birds chirping, leaves springing forth — my Dawson yearns for the constant and unchanged.
And this past Saturday, my little guy and I found that for him. I took him to his special needs baseball game that he has been participating in since he was five years old. He hit the ball twice — all by himself. Yes, you read that correctly. All by himself! And after the game, we went to one of his most favorite places. A place we go after every one of his baseball games.
His entrance into this palace was like any other Saturday afternoon. First he ran to look at all of the ice cream cakes in the freezer and delighted in their colors as he jumped up and down in front of the vast assortment of frozen treats. Next, he looked at the “cake book” that sits on the counter next to the register. He pushed his way through the patrons who were trying to decide what to order. I followed behind him, smiling and murmuring my usual, “Say ‘excuse me’ Dawson.”
And then we found our seats and Dawson was brought his medium vanilla ice cream with a spoon. And his anxiety melted. It left the minute we entered this most beautiful kingdom that is Dairy Queen. I could see his shoulders drop and the lightness in his smile. My little boy needed his ice cream. And we sat together. We ate. We talked. The conversation was everything that is Dawson, with repeated words and phrases.
And as I close my eyes now, I remember. After the many tears that he has had this week. That Mae Mae, Dave, and I have had this week. Right now, I remember the constant, the tradition, the rhythm. I remember Dawson eating ice cream.
Copyright Cheairs Graves April 20, 2012