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Autism: Not a Baby Anymore!

03 Jun

He had been planning this for a while. It isn’t like it is something that he does a lot, though at one point in his life it was frequent enough. I don’t think he has even been since… maybe the last of the Hobbit movies, and we went with him then.

It isn’t even like he has never gone alone before – but the thought of that; of going alone, left me feeling sad and anxious. After all, he is just a child, isn’t he?

But no. He turned twenty a couple of months ago. Not a child at all. By his age, I had lived on my own for two and a half years, and had a child of my own. I remember that time, between about the age of five and twenty, seeming like such a long time. So why did it go so fast for him? And like me, he feels his time has gone slow.

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I watch him walk out the door – this baby of mine – and he laughed at me for the concern on my face. Overprotective? I guess. Maybe it is just that I am not used to it. He hardly ever leaves the house. He hardly goes anywhere. His choice, not mine. And here he is going out alone.

A few weeks ago, I offered to go with him. Not exactly my kind of movie, but I liked some of them. I liked Spider-man. I liked Man of Steel. I listed off a few others. Apparently, they aren’t all made by the same company. Who knew? He shakes his head. “You would have to watch like thirteen movies before we went, just to understand what was going on,” he told me.

Thirteen!

“Besides, I don’t mind going alone.” Alone. I like to be alone a lot… but not at the movies. Not when I am trying to do something ‘fun’. I like to shop alone, because then I don’t feel rushed, or watched. I like to work alone. I like to clean, and think, and plan, and cook, and garden, and… all alone. But the movies?

“Are you sure?” I asked him. “Quite.”

So off he went alone. Of course, he didn’t really go alone. He can’t get to town from here by himself. My husband drove him, and arranged to pick him up. But he had to go in alone. Alone with his own money he had to buy the ticket, and the popcorn and pop he was treating himself to.

My heart was racing. ‘What if the movie is sold out?’, ‘What if he doesn’t have enough for the movie and the food as well?’ ‘What if…?’ My heart is often racing. It is nothing new.

“I’ll be fine, Mom,” he laughed, and shook his head again.

He has spent so much of his life hiding out in his bedroom. Refusing to answer the phones. Frightened when he has to send an email. Incapable of walking down certain isles in the stores, because of the smell. So many things that keep me worried about him, that I forget he is grown. It takes me by surprise.

Not a baby anymore. How did that happen?

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