an autism journey

Old TV and New Memory

I decided to make an attempt to fix the 18 year old television that sits in my bedroom. Yes, I know it is outdated, but my thinking is if it works, there is no need to replace it. It was perfectly fine  until the channel buttons broke off and left us stuck on the same station. I could maybe live with it if it was a decent station that once in awhile had a show I was interested in, but no… it had to be stuck on one of those obscure stations that I am not entirely sure  anyone watches (unless of course they have an old tv set whose channel buttons broke off).

I am not a particularly handy individual, but then again neither is my husband, and since he has been far too busy to look at the tv, I decided I would try it myself. I gathered up all the necessary tools… screwdriver, flashlight, and sticky tac (well, doesn’t everybody use sticky tac for this kind of thing?) and set myself to work. It was not long before a very curious little guy decided to see what on earth I was doing by messing with such a treasure as a tv. He got very anxious at first (he takes his tv seriously) and began pacing back and forth and jabbering. So, I stopped and tried my best to explain that I was indeed trying to fix the tv, not kill it (although the latter was more probable). When I thought his anxious mind was at ease, I set back to work. He plopped himself down right beside me, put his face against mine to get a good view of what I was looking at, and grabbed the flashlight. Granted,  he was not aiming the flashlight at what I was looking at, but the attempt to help was indeed appreciated. As the moments went on (and on and on), he kept his position and began to say “that’s amazing… awesome…. you did it…great job!” over and over and over. For the next 30 minutes he stayed by my side, face to my face, holding the flashlight (aimed at the ceiling), cheering me on. It was the kind of moment I think only a special needs mom could truly understand the emotional gratitude of. Most of the time, I think autism really stinks. It has robbed me of actually having a conversation with my son, robbed me of watching little league games and boy scouts and Christmas plays…. Robbed me of playing at the park without worrying my son is going to wander off.  But, in moments like this, I truly realize that I have a deeper appreciation for who my son really is, I take the good moments a little slower and I take nothing for granted. That is because of autism. Most moms would probably forget about these simple moments of joy (and perhaps not see them as joy at all) but forever, I will remember the exact moment of me trying to fix that old tv and Samuel beside me, in his limited speech, thinking my work was “amazing” and encouraging me to go on.  Even now, a few hours later, it brings tears to my eyes thinking about it.

The tv is still broken (although I now have it stuck on a different channel), but that doesn’t matter anymore. I just had one of those moments where the beauty of my son was shining bright. The memory of that moment will be enough to carry me through while I am stuck watching the TV Guide Channel.


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