Before we became a special needs family, pride in our house trickled from parent to child. Three year old Amos, with autism and extra special needs, has inspired our whole crew to be better, work harder, act in sensitivity, be empathetic, practice thoughtfulness and most importantly, to count mosquito wings as they skirt our path. They do so very often too, bits of success and progress accounted for, especially in our youngest family member. It was his sister that acknowledged the snippet of triumph today. Before him, I wouldn't have noticed this kind of progress, but I do now, most every day. On the beach this morning, I watched Amos and forced myself to remain seated as I held my breath and hoped. His sister did the same. What could he have done, you wonder. Something amazing?
I'm proud of you, Amos. Words of assurance and recognition born from the mindful heart of the 7 year old girl directed towards the youngest of her three brothers. She had worked quite a while on a sandcastle and adorned it with discarded toys from the bottom of my beach bag, some swim rings and plastic Easter eggs leftover from weekend hunting. As she built, Amos had been unusually occupied with a bucket of water and a pile of seaweed, ripe for throwing, unaware of his sister's construction of the masterpiece just feet away. It wasn't long before he spied the extravagant sandy tower and within seconds, he scooted over for the destruction that too often dominated his thoughts.
Not this time. I told him no and she told him no and we waited, the three of us. He sat down and patted the castle and she crooned words of pride to him. He had managed to stave off his need for razing his sister's creation. I agreed to her request for ice cream, proud of the daughter and sister who could find good in most anything her special needs brother accomplished. She scampered to the snack bar and he sat, pondering his next move. No, I told him and so, he stood up and leaned and looked at me and said, "need help." He had never before offered such obedience and love for the sister that considers him perfectly perfect in his imperfection. I reached over and took the adornments from her castle and he played with them for quite a while.
I'm proud of you, Amos, I echoed the words of the little girl that has been as much of a teacher as the boy who has changed us.