“Quick! Get the picture! Quick! Quick! Quick!!!”
My husband and I were both scrambling with our phones. Trying to get them swiped open, the camera app open, WORKING and in focus.
I got my phone first and snapped the picture.
“I got it!” I yelled and showed my husband the picture.
“Wow, that’s really awesome,” He smiled as Declan ran by. Helmet off, laughing, shaking his head wildly from side to side running up and down the street.
We watched Declan run for a minute, then looked back at the photo.
“That is really great.”
Of course, at the time, my husband and I didn’t even realize that Declan could not ride a bike.
We did know something was different about Declan, and some things were harder for him to accomplish. But when we saw him do something typical, something that was right for his age or development, we wanted to capture the moment as if we caught some sort of proof.
“See! Everything is okay. This is typical!”
I couldn’t resist. I ordered the picture of Declan on the bike in a 5 x7 and framed it in our living room. I loved to see Declan on the bike. His feet were on the peddles the right way, he had his helmet on – and he just looks so very happy.
Everything looked “right.”
Time went on.
We watched Declan get older and bigger – just like the other boys on the street that are the same age. We watched the boys ride their bikes and their scooters. We watched the boys transition out of their diapers into big boy underwear. We watched them go to their preschool’s, and learn their letters and numbers. And then we watched them go on to Kindergarten.
Declan was diagnosed with autism. We learned that was okay. He just had a different set of obstacles to overcome.
Declan can’t do all the things the other boys on our street can.
At least not yet.
I know it is a yet. I was reminded of this again today. As I stepped away from writing my grocery list, Declan asked if he could draw a picture on my paper, too.
“Of course,” I said as I went to get the car keys and my coat.
When I came back, I looked at the picture he drew:
He doesn’t know what all the letters are yet, but working with his Occupational Therapist (OT), he learned to draw one very awesome picture.
Did I cry when Bobby or Catelyn wrote their name for the first time? No, I cheered.
Writing their name was something I took for granted in my other two. Something I took as a rite of passage. Something they learned to do because they were supposed to.
Today I cheered with great big tears in my eyes.
And I need to remind myself that. I never know what Declan is going to pick up or learn – or when it will click.
BUT IT WILL CLICK.
Declan never did ride that bike. He became too big for it and we gave it away. And the scooter. But he is still working on it with his OT, trying to learn how to use his legs to make the bike and scooter go.
And one day, when he is ready, he will make a bike and scooter go. He will wear underwear. And he will go to Kindergarten soon, too.
He will do it all, right when he is ready.