Today it was just the two biggest girls and me. While Papagirltribe went grocery shopping with the two littles, I decided to take Sno and Raralily past the book exchange and trade in some unwanted books for some new reading material… and when you’re raising a family of book-addicts, it’s basically like our lolly shop. Then we stopped by the beach on the way home because I felt like getting a bit of sun on my skin.

Sno has had a tricky relationship with the beach. We’ve lived five minutes from it for the past 4 years but it hasn’t been until the last few that she’s been totally cool with them. In fact, her dislike for wet sand and the meltdowns it used to spin her into was one of the last factors that kind of pushed me into accessing a diagnosis for her. Anyway, I love taking her to the beach now.

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Off she runs, barefoot across the sand

She’s free, no constraints.

No trying to work out what to say, how to behave

She just focuses on the way ahead of her, rocks to collect, stones to skim

She can zone out while she sits and draws in the sand

Or sift it through her fingers.

She can make collections..

There’s no social nuances for her to decipher.

For a while it can just be simple, no pressure. 

Just free to be her.

 

When you’re living with autism in the family, you don’t often get many moments of that kind of liberation. Life is often rigid, routined, rehearsed. It’s tiring for everyone and it’s a daily survival game just to get through. On days that are seemingly easy, there are often unprecedented meltdowns which take the wind out of everyone’s sails. It makes you feel like you’re walking on eggshells and you try not to be negative as you prevent yourself from enjoying the calm placid moments, waiting for the next inevitable fallout.. but you do.

So when there are times that are free, times that are light, times that are easy.. yeah. They’re precious. When she is able to just embrace her innocence, no filtering required. The times she is able to be a child and just find enjoyment from simple things, rather than feel lost and confused or be angry and scared. Because these moments don’t come often amidst our crazy zoo. I take mental pictures of them in my head and I keep them close to me whenever I see her struggling.

Because at the end of the day she’s just a child, – a beautiful, gifted, amazing one –  and her life is incredibly overwhelming for her. It’s not her choice, it just is what it is. And you know.. it’s my job as her mother be here and offer her unwavering support during her toughest times and help her find her way and be brave enough to dance to her own rhythm, unperturbed. Because when she does.. it’s just beautiful.