Monday, December 19, 2011

GBE2 Challenge: Wonder

My husband and I were sitting in our formal living room less than an hour ago. Yes, we actually were. We sat there, I in one of the wingback chairs covered in a bright silken damask and he on a stark white couch. We were the picture of the Vanderbilts...

...well, except for the fact that our older son, barefoot and clutching his Baby Einstein push button books, was running hard and fast in a circle with an interesting chant spilling from his lips.

'Round and 'round and 'round he ran in a wide circle, probably three or four times. It wasn't enough times to make him dizzy. The chant meant something to him, what, I didn't know. Well, I did the unthinkable, the Cardinal Sin of parenting: I started to laugh.

I sure wasn't laughing WITH him, either. I'll just be honest. It looked so ridiculous, as does absolutely everything in our lives, that I laughed from my toes as he ran 'round and 'round. Tears spilled from my eyes.

At the same time, I just looked at him and wondered, what does it all mean? What the heck was he doing?

And, in the bigger scheme of things, what the heck are we all doing in this seemingly nonsensical life of ours? Our household is driven by a language all its own. We're living in a land where clothing is optional--for that matter, so are toilets.


I was at my end-of-day, mama-has-lost-her-marbles stage. I laughed without breathing at the sight of my circling child and our crazy life, remembering the time when something like this would eat away at me.

Years ago, an unexplained action, for me, became subject to a clinical study: what did he eat recently? When was the last time he'd had a bowel movement? What did it look like? Did anything unusual happen in school today? Has he had all of his supplements? Do we need to tweak any of the doses? Perhaps he reacting to one of them...

I would spend so much time watching behaviors. Watching. And wondering.

That wasn't all that long ago, you know--maybe five years? I don't remember much of it. The memory is lost in a blur of digestion and behavioral logs that I kept while I was trying to explain all of the unexplained behaviors.

I wonder if he'll remember that from his childhood? I hope not.

The truth is that there is a lot about our sons that I can tell you. And, there is also a lot about them that I can't explain. Sometimes, particularly our older son who lacks a good deal of language, they will do things that seem extraterrestrial.

They will also do some things that are pretty spectacular.

I was in the car the other evening with two of my friends and their son. I love the way this little boy thinks. He loves life. He loves to talk, and he also happens to have autism. At one point, he drew an analogy between what he and I were saying to a lesson his mom was trying to make with him a week or so ago. Except, well, maybe his thinking wasn't following the conventional route. As his mom tried to get him to follow the conventional route which she intended, he continued along his own route, which--call me crazy---started to make magnificent sense after a while. Oh my goodness, how this child could split hairs and rework a situation until you didn't know which direction you started!

If I were his parent, he would make my brain hurt.

But I'm not! I'm his friend, and I had the pleasure of marvelling in this gift he had to work his thoughts in a way most kids can't. What a wonder that was!

I get to live that wonder in my house every day. Some days, it makes me talk like a truck driver. Some days, I cry over it. Every day, I recognize how unique to life it is.

So, there I was in my rarely-used formal living room, dismissing my questions of what the heck was making our son run in circles almost as soon as those questions came to mind. Maybe one day I'd figure that action out. Maybe one day I wouldn't. The truth is: his running in circles wasn't about me. For that matter, this life that I'm leading, well, it isn't about me, either.

In my house, we have two truly special kids. Thier lives are absolute wonders.

Quite often, I am just a spectator.


  1. The spectator and the story teller! I have concluded nothing in life is really about me, Amy. I have concluded it's all about how I am going to handle what IS about everyone I love. Now that my brain knows that and my heart is believing it, I think I got it.
    Thanks again for your words earlier...♥

  2. Jo, if you have truly captured this lesson and made it your own, you are golden! <3 back to you!

  3. From reading your blog, you are not a spectator. You are knee deep in it whether you like it or not! You can try to watch but eventually it sucks you in like those vacuum cleaners on the right.


  4. i can't help but wonder...

    and pray

    you do make time for each other right? Let him know it never changed the yearning for the wonderful hunk of man that he God did bring you together and it is ABOVE and BEYOND what we mortals think..and the world needs to know

    (another chapter DONE, did you get the publisher yet?)

    and yes publish your love all over that man of yours. (you two have been on my heart) MUAH!

  5. Ugh. Brenda. You're too much for me. I'm a WASP. LOLOL! ROTFL!!!

  6. His circle running isn't about you, but his ability to be himself, circling and chanting in your presence, knowing at some inner level that he and his brother are cherished, that is all about you.

  7. I loved what you said about your friend's son not thinking or connecting thoughts conventionally. I'm sure the world belongs to the nonconventional thinkers. Your family sounds truly special.

  8. This beautiful entry proves once again there is much about life that transcends our intellect.

    and if we were each given an explanation, a reason as to why things are the way they are...all the wonder in our hearts and minds would be disolved. Hope and faith would take a back seat to knowledge.

    May your holiday season bless you with extraordinary measures of Peace, Hope & Faith!
    Marc :)

  9. Merry Christmas to all. Thank you all for your comments. Our older son is at the airport, content. Marc, for one rare time in our partenting with him, hope and faith have taken a back seat to knowledge--well said. He has told us that he doesn't like this holiday, which we suspected for a while, so we've not pushed it on him. He's much better for our understanding. It's amazing what a change just a little thread of understanding can do for his/our quality of life.

    pbquig: thanks for stopping by. My husband is a nonconventional thinker as well. I agree with you, I think our world belongs to them. I am as conventional as it gets, so my marriage and my parenting has taught me a great deal.

    Thank you all for the gift of your time and comments.