Monday, January 8, 2018

Silver Lining

It is Sunday afternoon. Our old Koi pond sans Koi is filled with fresh water. Our boys don their trunks and play in the water. Morgan grabs my hand gesturing me to be with him.  Garret kicks the water happily. Morgan hands me the water bucket. He wants me to fill it with water and then pour it over his head. I do. Many, many times. He does not want me to stop. I do not stop. He laughs loudly in delight. Garret walks in the water splashing it with his legs and arms then slides his body forward, stands up and does it again. The water bucket runs out of water and Morgan asks me to fill it again and pour it over his head.  We go on like this for half an hour or so.

It is the 7th day of the new year and already, it seemed the path has been reiterated for me, as a mother at least. The past few days have been difficult. Garret's transition into adolescence has reared its unpleasant head. Hormones gone awry leave him in a disarray which in turn leave me in as much, if not,  worse disarray. Tears overflow. Questions arise: Why my boys? His eyes somehow ask too or plead with me,  "Why me, Mama?" Or " Help me, Mama please."  We both know how it ends--exhaustion in each other's arms. And then in a few minutes it seems as if there was no storm that passed at all. My son finds his calm and peace envelopes us for the next few hours or days.

I've read the literature on tantrums and meltdowns. Figure out the triggers. Teach them to communicate better. On and on the strategies are laid out. And over the years, the reality of autism never really sinks in until you are facing it yourself. While the immensity is present everyday, the smallest details and happenings come in waves. It is easy to become complacent as much as it is easy to try to control things. The struggle to find balance between going with the flow and setting conditions that eliminate triggers for my son is one that is important needless to say. Because even as autism is a constant, the triggers are ever changing and his reactions to them as well. 

This afternoon as I stand in the pond with my boys, I bask in their laughter, their joy, in the simplicity of their needs and in the complexity of the workings of their minds. I let my heart be quiet. I hear myself breathe. And a thought comes over me: In the dark clouds that hover, there is, as they say,  always a silver lining.  But the gift here is not the silver lining as much as the awareness of that silver lining. The attention that I am able to bring into my consciousness so I may recognize the cracks which let the light in. Because truth be told, the blessing in every adversity, the opportunity in every setback is ever present, like an invisible cloak holding space for us.  The cracks, the blessing, the opportunity, the invisible cloak in the beautiful presence of family, friends and teachers will be of no use if I am not present, if I am not paying attention to each moment, every murmur from my child, every controlled scream, every ragged breath, if I am not bringing my entire being into the smallest details. So even if it hurts, even if my heart breaks every single time, even if I question why, I embrace what I am called to do in this life, to be truly present with and for my boys, to be fully aware and to pay attention to everything that happens around them and to them.

The sun has begun to set. Though clouds hover overhead, there are slats of light bursting through, lining the thick gray tufts. Garret is tired and gets out of the pond. Morgan wants to stay a few minutes more. I tell him, "Five more minutes and playing is done." He complains a little. I soothe him saying we can play again tomorrow. It is only the 7th day of the new year and the path has been reiterated for me-- that of being fully awake, of being truly present, that of love. And only love. I look up and I see it, the beautiful silver lining.





"When you master the art of being fully awake to this moment, you bestow a precious gift on your soul-- the experience of love." - Debbie Ford

Photo taken March 2013. 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Dear Garret


Dear Garret,

Last month two 2nd graders told me you were handsome. Of course you are. I often wonder if things were different what mischief you would be up to in school. How many trips to the guidance office you would take. How many girlfriends you will have. How many hearts you will break. I wonder and wonder. But then I catch myself. I tell myself to stop wondering. Because there are no answers for that. There are, however, answers for this, what we have right now, who you are right now. Perhaps the only mischief you are up to are the ones only your Mama knows. Your Mama who is also your guidance counselor and teacher rolled into one. We know full well how that plays out, don't we? Perhaps the only woman in your life will be me. And the only heart you will break is mine. Until the end of time. And you know what, my dear boy? That is okay. That is perfectly okay. It took me quite some time to come to this. But I think I may have finally come to terms with this part of our journey. I am sorry it has taken so long. And maybe there will be many more days I will still wonder. Forgive me. But know this: I love you. I love you. I love you. In all my wonderings and endless what ifs, I love you.

You are turning out to be a fine, handsome young man. Yes you are indeed. Allow me one last wondering in this letter. I wonder if you remember how I read to you over and over when you were three years old lines from a book. It said, "I love you forever, I like you for always, as long as I'm living, my baby you'll be." It rings true for you. I hope you do remember.

I love you, my baby.

Love always,

Mama

Dear Morgan

Dear Morgan,

When you laugh it is as if the hundred thousand angels in heaven are laughing with you

When you cry,  clouds are your friends,  their tears spilling over in torrential rain, crying with you

When you wrap your arms around my waist, hug me tight and we hold hands swinging round and round, I know what dancing with the stars must feel like

When you gaze at me, cup my face with your hands, and murmur words you and I can only understand, I know for a moment what heaven looks like

There are still many times I ask "Why?" And what if? And what is the meaning of all this. Then I remember a gift is a gift. And you, my dear boy, you and your kuya are the most precious of all.

I love you, I love you, I love you, remember that.

Love,
Mama Bea