4:43 a.m. I wake up from the usual nightmare: Derek is drowning and no matter how hard or how fast I swim, I cannot reach him.
I roll over and gaze at the 5 year old boy sleeping beside me.
Moonlight falls on his face through an opening in the curtain.
He looks almost angelic in the blue light.
I stop and stare, trying to drink in the moment for all eternity.
Long lashes flutter on his smooth cheeks.
His lips move as he mumbles a little.
I watch his chest slowly rise and fall and am reminded of the hundreds of times I checked to make sure he was breathing as an infant.
His hair, curling softly, smells faintly of the lavender scented baby wash I used the evening before.
His face is losing its baby fat, and he's looking more and more like a little boy.
His hands and feet remind me of a puppy's--they are just a little bit too big for his body.
My child is growing, right before my very eyes.
I wish, for a brief moment, that I could stop time.
Derek's MDT is coming up. It has been more than 3 years since the official autism diagnosis. I know that nothing has technically changed. His teacher told me on the phone that they were "confident" that he would still qualify for autism services. A lot of people will be at this MDT. The school plans on doing neurological and psychological testing, as well as an IQ test. Speech and OT will be there as well.
These tests don't matter to me. It no longer hurts me to see how far behind his peers my son really is. Standardized tests don't reflect the important things, and they never will.
Tests don't show how much my son has overcome.
Nor do they show his capacity for learning.
Tests don't reflect determination, patience, or compassion--qualities I know my son has in abundance.
I continue to watch him sleep. He stirs and calls out, "Mommy?"
I put my hand on his arm and say, "Mommy's here."
He instantly stills and his breathing quiets.
I wonder what he dreams about--and if he speaks without difficulty in his dreams.
I wonder what the future holds for my beautiful child.
No. I will not worry about tomorrow. My son has everything he needs right now; a roof over his head, food to eat, and a family that loves and believes in him.
Dream big, my son.
Anything is possible...