Susan's Blog

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Crossing Over

I’ve had no blog since stupid Blogger bailed on everyone.  So Ned and Max transferred this thing with its 1300+ entries over the course of several days and I’ve become choked with posts that could go nowhere.  Here is the first one to come bubbling up:

Ned and I took a walk with Nat into the Village this afternoon, more to see how he seemed than to get anything.  But Starbux is always a lure for me, especially when I have a long day ahead (I’m traveling for the book tour.  I had cut some of it short to come back home and be with Natty.  Now I’m headed back to Connecticut and then onto New Jersey.).  So we headed there; it’s only like a half-mile from home.

Nat eagerly accepted the invitation to go, which is a good sign.  Lately, while he’s been home suffering from the shingles, he has not been himself.  He has been answering a very elongated “ye-es” to most questions, and hardcore “NO,” to others.  There has been very little that has elicited the psyched-Natty “YES!” complete with the jump-up and the scramble for shoes.  I miss that.

But Nat loped ahead of us in his usual style and I felt very good walking next to Ned in the humid air.  It was so steamy and sunny, in fact, that for the first time you could smell the blossoms of the trees.  There will be a waft of sugary air and then I turn immediately to identify the source, which is kind of impossible when every tree around me is fluffy white or pink.  Ah, such a good problem.

We got down the hill and crossed over by the Post Office.  The blocks are pretty contiguous at this point, but there is one small alley-like street that actually has a crosswalk and light.  Nat was ten feet ahead of us, as usual.  I watched him get to the curb and I saw him pull himself back and wait, even though the walk light was on.  Then I noticed a car that had barreled right up to the crosswalk.  Nat had noticed it too, and so he had not crossed, even the light was on.

I think this means that Nat now understands the gray areas of walking in the streets:  that you have to watch for cars and you cannot simply rely on drivers to obey the lights.  It happened.  It really did.  Now the goal of letting him walk alone in the neighborhood is visible, just beyond another block.  More independence has bloomed inside that incredible brain of his.  I breathed in that knowledge, enjoying it like a fresh breeze of apple blossom.


Lovely and fresh. What happened with blogger?

— added by Brenda on Sunday, April 11, 2010 at 7:32 pm

Blogger is discontinuing their FTP service as of May 1st, so I switched Susan over to WordPress.

— added by ned on Sunday, April 11, 2010 at 9:47 pm

I can feel your happiness through your words — you surely have a gift, both for writing and for raising Nat.

— added by Donna on Monday, April 12, 2010 at 7:33 am

What is an FTP service?

— added by Kate on Monday, April 12, 2010 at 5:15 pm

Shingles??!! Poor Nat, that is a drag, I hope he is feeling better. I’m sorry this happened during your book tour, because I know you must be chomping at the bit to take care of him. Glad you all got out for a walk.

Jared stunned me on Saturday, he’d spilled some juice on his pillow case and said (Get this!) “Mom, I think you better come in here.” I skipped to get him a new pillowcase!!

Hooty hoo – it’s spring time. Lisa

— added by lisa on Monday, April 12, 2010 at 6:06 pm

Congratulations on your second book, Susan. I haven’t finished it yet, but wish I’d had it six years ago when my first son was diagnosed. Your writing would have saved me many nights of pondering “how can I think about all of this in a way that won’t drive me crazy?” Your practical suggestions are wonderful too. I’ve been a fan since your memoir, which was the first book I read about an unrecovered child and a family that could still find joy in the situation. Thank you for that. It was a lifeline.

I just noticed on your list of events that you once did a reading in Fair Haven, NJ, which is where I grew up. It’s such a tiny town, I’m wondering about the connection!

Best of luck with the tour. The Survival Guide will help many, many families. Congrats on Nat’s traffic awareness as well!


— added by Kim McCafferty on Monday, April 12, 2010 at 8:11 pm

When I hear stories like this from other autism parents, it gives me immense hope for my George, who is six and seems to have such a long journey ahead of him.

— added by Kirsten on Wednesday, April 14, 2010 at 10:32 am

Would you worry about Nat if he were walking alone in your neighborhood? Would you be concerned that some kids would bother him or that somebody would misunderstand what he’s doing or saying and get scared and call the police?

— added by Sara on Saturday, April 17, 2010 at 4:29 pm

Yes. Nat is still a long way from that kind of activity. But a short walk, with me maybe shadowing just a bit, could be the next step.

— added by Susan Senator on Saturday, April 17, 2010 at 4:51 pm

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