If I mop the kitchen floor when Declan is around, he gets so excited. He takes off his clothes, lays down on the wet floor and makes snow angels. Always sensory seeking, the slick of the floor has him rolling around like a happy dog playing in the snow for the first time.
I thought about this today as a couple of tears rolled down my cheek as I was watching Declan play. Declan saw the tears and began to wipe them all around my face.
I pulled it together and continued to watch his play. I realized I went to the place I have banned from my mind.
“What would you have been like if this hadn’t happened to you?”
There are 3 thoughts I steer clear of: “Why,” “How” and “What if.” They are unproductive thoughts and are banned from my thinking.
I am a person of faith, so I do not ask “why.”
I have questioned the “how” so many times. I was overweight during his pregnancy. The umbilical cord was around his neck. There was a moment he couldn’t breathe during the C-Section. Were any of these reasons the “how?”
But every now and again, the third banned question seeps in, and I think of the Declan in an alternate universe that does not have autism.
And wonder what he would be like.
I imagine that Declan would be in Kindergarten. He would be learning his sight words. He would already know the alphabet and numbers.
Would Spiderman still be his hero? Would he have a Spiderman book bag and lunch box?
Would it have taken him a week? A month? 6 months to learn how to use the potty? Surely he would be potty trained by now.
He would be playing soccer this season. Each child started at 5. This would be his first season with our local recreational soccer league.
At the playground he would play with friends. I would not have to stand next to him to protect him or other kids.
If we played chase it would be for fun. Not me chasing him with pure fear for his safety.
Would I be back at work now?
Would my husband and I be able to go get a babysitter and go out to dinner, movies or to a party?
He would probably be able to walk with me in a store instead of having to be lifted into a cart
He would probably be in a booster seat instead of being harnessed into the car.
He would probably sleep through the night.
And not be drinking so many different supplements from a juice cup.
I let the thoughts go and look at Declan. I watch Declan wrap up his new Jack Skellington figure in a piece of white paper and athletic tape. The joy on his face each time he unwraps the figure! As if it was the first time he were seeing it on Christmas morning! I smile and I reiterate what I have always known: