Living with Luke 35
If you were out on the street and you saw somebody that you knew, went up to them, starting speaking to them and that person refused to look at you, or even acknowledge you and then just walked away from you without saying a word, what would you do? For most of us, we would dismiss them as being bloody rude and probably never bother speaking to them again. A few of us may even chase after them and demand to know why they are behaving in such a rude way. But one thing is for sure, we would be very hurt by the snub.
Living with Tiddles, this is what I get all the time. I’ll speak to him. Nothing. I’ll look into his eyes. Nothing. He’ll look around me, in that he won’t meet my gaze. It’s as if the whole effort of looking at me is too much like hard work for him or even too much for him to bear.
I imagine, or rather I know, that this is the norm for a lot of parents of autistic/special needs children and I’m well aware that I’m not alone in this situation. But as I keep pointing out to TCMH, this is about Tiddles and I. The whole point of this blog is to highlight my relationship with this special, beautiful, ‘little’ boy.
But what can I do? I’m lucky to have him in the first place, so who am I to start dictating the rules of what I want from him? We play by his rules and pretty much all of the time as well. The relationship we have has very, very slowly, but very noticeably drifted apart. But we do have our (all too brief) moments when he connects with me again. And believe me, I count every neck squeeze, chest slap, foot stamp, finger bite and belly poke as connections. But there are also those rare and wonderful times when he squeezes me so tightly that it makes me happy to be his dad. It’s almost as if he HAS to squeeze me or he will die, almost as if he’s saying,
“Quick! I need to hug somebody really tightly, my life depends upon it! You old man, you’ll do…”
And then there are also those moments when he laughs that unbridled and uncontrollable laugh when he has heard or seen something genuinely funny. And sometimes those moments are down to me.
We all struggle with our day to day lives and we deal with the challenges the best we can. Sometimes we’re ahead and life seems good. But then sometimes we feel like we’re drowning and there seems to be no easy way out. With Tiddles, there always seems to be no easy way out and his ever so slowly increasing reluctance to have me as part of his life does indeed feel like drowning at times. I have no option but to go with it. Why? Because he’s mine, whether he likes it or not. He may not show it, and indeed he may never show it, but I have to believe that deep down he would miss not having this old punchbag around, this big cuddle post. And I have to believe that, I have to hold onto that thought every time he rejects me with his words.
I love you Tiddles and that’s what I have, the one thought that I have to hold onto with all my strength until I can see you in my world again.
And in the meantime…