My heart is pounding. I feel the pressure build in my chest and heat rise to my face. It’s Friday, one month into the new school year. The school transition a success, the new routine established, the daily responsibilities clear.
The dread sets in.
I am fighting an uphill battle. A constant onslaught, a huge, giant boulder that I must slowly roll uphill to the mountaintop. Call me helicopter or lawnmower or tiger, I have been them all. But this boulder, I must help push it with him. Sometimes, I will push it for him.
This boulder is too insurmountable for anyone alone. I am his chief advocate, his best friend, the one who understands him most.
If we could just make it to the top.
Oh the mountaintop. That is the place my son will thrive. That is where he will see things clearly. Where he will learn – and love to learn. Teachers will take delight in this creative thinker and will enjoy the thrill in those moments when he “gets it.” They will push him to pursue his talents, they will push him to reach higher. They will push him, because they believe in him.
On the mountaintop, he will have a friend or two to sit with at lunch or someone to laugh with over a good movie. He will enjoy a high school football game every now and then. He will cut up with buddies on the sidelines. He will understand social nuances a little better and he will not be a forgotten person, too annoying to really acknowledge. No, up here, the boys won’t get up and leave when he sits down next to them.
On the mountaintop, he will not stress when the cousins come over after school and he won’t lock himself up in his room because of the change in routine. He will enjoy a beach trip with his extended family and laugh with his uncles as they try skateboarding for the first time. He won’t hide in his Eno for 5 days, begging to go home while the rest of us enjoy the waves.
On the mountaintop, he will be able to enjoy church as truly a place of worship and a time to discover God. He will sing with all of us and not feel the pain of the loud noise and chaos. He won’t rub his eyes until they bleed. The silly rules and misunderstandings and expectations won’t exist up here. Only the Word. And once he reaches the mountaintop, he definitely won’t get kicked out of Sunday School.
No. We are far from that mountaintop. Sometimes I think we have arrived, only to find we climbed the wrong mountain. Sometimes, we get lost in the forest. Sometimes we achieve great heights and see the wonderful view.
You see, this giant boulder sits in his way. This boulder is called autism.