August 6, 2010

It's the Little Things

I practically came out of the womb with a to-do list in my hand so when I had Will, my first, I attacked things like potty training and teaching him to dress himself like a kamikaze pilot. In my mind, these were tasks easily conquered. I fully expected that he would "get it" on the first attempt and we'd immediately move on to the next notch on the to-do list, a never-ending list leading us through childhood.

Imagine my dismay and frustration when things didn't go as planned! Surprisingly, my children are not tasks and they do not all approach life the same way I do. But more than anything, having a child with autism has helped change my perspective. I have learned to break even the tiniest of tasks into small steps and to patiently help my sons learn new things. The most important lesson, though, has been learning to celebrate the little victories--a zipper zipped, a bottom wiped, a successful first playdate, washed hands, a written name, an unprovoked I love you.
Each night this week, we've toasted a different child at dinner for a little victory.

After two years of trying, Will learned to ride his bike without training wheels!

Reese learned to buckle his seat belt all by himself.

And, maybe best of all for mom & dad, Luke is potty trained!

Of course, my mind immediately moved to thoughts of all the things we should or ought to be doing with our boys. No, I told myself, I'm just going to enjoy this moment and remember how far we've come. I'm going to take time to enjoy my boys because, with each new thing they learn to do on their own, the faster they will grow up and away from needing me.