Friday, September 03, 2021

Lingering and Accelerating

When she was a baby, I would write down milestones about smiles, and sitting up, first shoes, or first steps. It's a pleasure to come across an old post, about any of the young folk, when I mentioned what they were talking about, interested in, how tall they'd gotten, what size shoes they were suddenly wearing. It's not something that ends when they are two, or four. They keep growing, well past 12, 17, 23, and it's such an honor, such a treasure to witness their becoming, evolving, what they love, how they engage, so I feel thankful about those notes I jot down. In a future time I will have a picture, made of words, reflections of who they were, at a moment in time, and it tends to recall even more moments, and happy times. Just now, I notice that she lingers. We pull up to the curb, in the long drop-off line, and she could hurry out at the street, or at any point along the driveway, but she lingers. We are usually deep in conversation about art, physics, literature, cake, or we are simply exchanging our terms of endearment, and I detect the mild irritation with time, the incessant ticking of school clocks, alarms, schedules. She lingers. Our eyes meet, and there is one more squeeze of hands, or assurances, "See you soon. I love you. Have fun learning!" It's seconds, only, but the mindfulness, the connection is eternal, penetrating. One of these days, I will reach for her hand, and tug her back into the van. We will drive away, and have a picnic, with books, paper and paints, and we will talk about the horizon, acceleration, what makes a good chai, and all the things that make us smile.
One dining table, two cats, two pumpkins (last year's), a T-shirt, a big sheet of paper for taking notes and making plans, a grocery bag, two coats, three rocks, two acorns, some books on D & D, probably a few pencils, maybe a coffee mug. Yesterday I devoted time to matching clean socks, folding underwear, hanging shirts, and ordering a dinner to pick-up. I also rode 14 miles on my bicycle, with Geoff. We have increased our rides from 10 miles, to at least 12. Last week we rode 26.5 miles, 21 miles, 16 miles. Still neighborhood loops. Still up and down our street. I haven't calculated, lately, how far I've gotten on my ride to Boston. But, I know it's over 3,500 miles, so I could probably take a scenic route. It's a very big adventure, in my head. I enjoy a lot of big adventures, and ideals in my head, like being tidy, and fit, writing novels, painting daydreams, visiting the Red Woods with all of my loved ones, organizing a holiday closet, with a cupboard just for table cloths, giving away bicycles, and building things, ideas, dreams.
In my head I am a much more capable, accomplished person. I have yet to be the equal, in real life, of my aspirational self. I let a pocketful of Smarties go through the wash, the dryer. I can't remember names, or the very important things on the list I made of very important things. I can't find the list.
Ah! One more for the memory book... last night she confirmed with Max about a physics debate she had with a classmate, in which she argued that a ball falling in an arc from a table would drop at the same rate as a ball that fell straight down, and the boy insisted otherwise, that 'the ball dropping straight down would land first,' and Max was happy to affirm that Maria was correct. Physics is her favorite science subject, and I will just write that down, as though it were in her baby book of milestones and memories.

Max has loved both physics and math, as well as poetry, welding, forging, mentoring, teaching, Magic the Gathering, cooking, and music. I have something special to share. Max's internship is almost over. He has been programming for a gaming company all summer. It's been from home, with online activities for socialization, but mostly a lot of challenging experiences, learning new languages, and about corporate culture. This has been special enough, but the latest news is that he was offered the chance to stay, as a contract employee. He's accepted the offer. He's happy, and he's coping as he grows... graphics programmer was never his plan, or dream. He's always been diligent and focused on the task at hand: school, the next class, the next assignement, but without much certainty about what might come next, what could be possible. I shouldn't give the impression that he didn't think about these things, it's only that he wasn't committed to a particular career path. Now he is immersed in a field that is challenging, interesting, and gives him an opportunity to put into practice the skills and instincts he has to reason, to create, to solve problems, and share ideas, concepts, solutions. For my part, I love that he landed some place where he can put his skills to use, apply them and enjoy cutting edge opportunities to learn more, and all of this in an environment where he is appreciated by smart people who are considerate, creative, supportive, and encouraging.

It's his journey now, I know, and I am at risk of over-stepping... I don't assume I know everything he thinks or feels about this, but as a Mom, as someone who has been in his corner, advocating, hopeful, I feel joy, I feel relief, and gratification for this outcome. At some point our children, and all of the good and hard things we navigate with them, become seperate from us. For some families this is easier, or more defined... like when their children turn 18, or go off to college. When there is neurodiveristy involved, Autism, the lines blurr, the timeline will not be typical. We have always had to make our own way, and Max has honored me with an open, respectful, appreciative relationship. I don't intend to overshare what is his story, his personal details, but I will mark this time as meaningful to me, because we have come to a very good, and hard won place, overcoming societal obstacles, roadblocks, and challenges. Autism, in the end, was never as difficult to live with, as what the world expected, or refused to accomodate. It's no small accomplishment that Max is where he is, and after everything, this moment is sweeter than many could imagine.


Ruth said...

So good! Hard-earned rewards, sweet moments to savor.

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Thank you, Ruth... for this comment, and especially for all of the many ways you have been loving, supportive, and available. Caring family and friends make all the difference in the world.

Adaliza said...

I can't believe that Maria is so grown-up. It's good that she lingers ... My little girl is 35 and my boys close behind her, all in their 30's. How did that happen? And life goes on - which, as my mother used to say - is better than the alternative! Long may it last and long may we, as mothers enjoy those special moments ...

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Val, hello! Thank you for stopping by. I feel it, too, the disbelief about our "little girl." If we were at a table, sharing tea, you would see my look of mock shock, but with real feeling... it does all happen too quickly. I have a 30 year old son! In another year we will be a household of all adults, and yet I still haven't cleared all of the toddler clothes from Maria's closet. (I am picturing the cute skirts I sewed for her, and had planned to lengthen, or some such nonsense!) Yes, long may these days last, when we can enjoy being mothers, and watching our young folks make their way, grow, and go on! It's nice to catch up with you. I am popping over to read your new blog post.