A Moment Between Friends

I have been silent on the blogging front for the past ten days or so, grinding away at this thing called life. Living gets in the way of writing sometimes, you see. And I’ve been contemplating a lot of things – hard truths, let’s call them – which maybe I’ll be brave enough to explore another day with you all.

These are the thoughts that press upon you when you are supposed to be working, or after the kids go to bed and you collapse on the sofa with your husband of nearly 15 years, and he has the laptop open to catch up on work and you both find it’s easier to work or be on Facebook instead of share the million and one musings and grievances that are on your minds.

Because who wants to hear all that, rehash all that over and over again? Aren’t we supposed to be able to see the beauty in our lives and be grateful for our comforts when there is such a vast spectrum of life out there? Suffering in Syria and poverty and starvation in other parts of the world; children with special needs who can’t get the support they deserve, people being bullied and those who are grieving inconsolable losses of life and livelihood?

And I’m going to complain about hard truths, choices and sacrifices I’ve made regarding family and work? Feel upset because I cannot make a move without making sure it doesn’t disrupt everyone’s lives? Constantly analyzing, guiding and decision-making for Lil D, hoping to help him gain independence and more control of his autism? Stay up into the night wondering about what happens to Lil D when I die? What will his future be? When (God willing) his brother and sister get married, will their spouses be supportive of the care and commitment they will (God willing) give to Lil D?

There’s got to be more than that, right? What about the moments? The bright, flashing moments that burst through the grind and catch us with their brilliance? With their declaration that even if this is a one-time thing, it is a beautiful moment worth holding onto, sharing and celebrating.

Because it’s too damn easy to hold on to all that is hard and difficult and unknown and vulnerable and unfair.

This morning I was getting Lil D ready for school and thinking about wills and estate planning and the future, thinking about a discussion I had had with my eldest brother about who would be guardian to my children and what would we want for Lil D, what our plans are.

It’s hard to think about it all without getting emotional. Who will look out for him? Who can (and will) do what we do for him?

The bus pulled up amidst all this, and I walked him up to it. He climbed inside, like he always does, and turned to walk down the aisle to his seat. Except this time, for the first time, he paused at the first seat, where a fellow student sat humming and fiddling with the strap of the seatbelt.

(This student and Lil D have been together a long, long time. We are good friends with his parents and have shared the highs, lows and everything in between in our autism lives. Our boys are alike in many ways, and our struggles have been very similar throughout the years.)

Lil D paused, looked at his friend and gave him his beads – the beads he loves and always plays with on the bus. And there was such a look of surprised happiness on the boy’s face. He looked back at Lil D as if to say – you’re sharing this with me? It was the only overt gesture of friendship I have seen between these two precious young men in their many, many years together.

A magical moment, a chink in the autism armor when a real connection momentarily broke through between two blessed souls.

That. That is what we hold on to.

About Dilshad Ali

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