Well, Wednesday I came down with the flu....even though I had my preventative flu shot! ARG! So most of Wednesday entailed me sleeping, getting sick, and trying my best to answer Corey's questions regarding Ethan's daily schedule.
By Thursday, I was feeling better but not yet recovered. Corey had quarentined me to our bedroom, and he was fast & furious with the Lysol & bleach in our home. (I think I should get sick more often!) But I was more awake than the previous day, and I was able to listen to the 2 men in my lives talking to each other throughout the day. It was the sweetest sound in the world. My two guys talking in typical conversation. I heard them laughing, playing, talking, and bonding....it was the best.
Friday, I was feeling my strength return, and Corey was able to go back to work. But guess who was sick with the flu now? Ethan. He woke up vomiting, and he continued to be sick all day....even though he would tell you that he was healthy & not sick. :0) Because he was sick, he actually took a nap that day. It was very late in the day, and we didn't even realize that he was sleeping. He had covered himself completely with a blanket on the couch, but he does that a lot in order to self calm. But we soon realized that he wasn't moving or making any noise. When I pulled back the blanket, he was sound asleep on our couch. I can count on one hand how often that happens.
You can probably guess what our night was like...since Ethan took a late nap, he was up late at night. Since my sleep schedule was off as well, Ethan & I stayed up late while Corey went to bed. Poor guy...he had been the sole caretaker for 2 days and was trying to stay on top of work stuff at the same time. This man needed his sleep!!!!
But a magical thing happened at 11:30pm on Friday night. Ethan & I were snuggling on the couch watching Top Gear (Ethan's choice), and he asked to play "The Favorite Game." This is a game that was created when Corey & I were dating. On many of our dates, Corey's younger brother would come with us. He & Corey were very close, and dating Corey usually meant taking Curtis with us. I joke with him that he is really our first child. He was around 8 years old when we got married, and he was our Junior Best Man. I love that kid. Anyway, on our dates, I started asking Corey what his favorite things were as part of trying to get to know him better. But Curtis was also part of this game, and we got to know him better as well too! It just asking a series of "What is your favorite______?" Color, snack, cartoon, flower, board game, etc. Well, this game has become a regular game with me & any kiddos that I have taught or babysat. And now, my own child loves this game. So, at 11:30pm on Friday night while snuggling & watching Top Gear, Ethan asked to play this game.
What happened has been seared in my memory for all time. I began asking Ethan questions which typically result in Ethan giving me one word answers.....which is a miracle in itself, to be honest. But on this evening, Ethan began to expand on his answers. For instance, I asked him what his favorite thing thing was to play in the Gross Motor Room at preschool. He told me it was playing house with 2 other friends.....an answer I had heard before. But then he said, Friend A is the Daddy, Friend B is the kid, and I am the mommy! (Many things ran through my head as he told me this...including why are you the mommy?!?! But also excited that he playing with other kids & PRETEND playing with others!...so it's fine that he is the mommy.) He told me many other things in more detail than I had ever heard before! He was telling me how things made him feel, how he liked some things & not others, more details about his school days....it was SUCH a blessing!!!!
I think we talked for an hour on the couch before both of our eyes began to feel heavy. It was the most that I had ever talked with Ethan. It actually felt like a real, genuine conversation. It was the first time that I saw Ethan as a boy....and not a preschooler. He has grown up in so many ways this year, and this conversation helped me see him for who he is....a great kid! For a brief moment in time, the autism fog was lifted off of him, and I got to see the boy underneath this covering. The person inside. I wished that moment would have lasted for hours, but I will take what we can get.
This glimmer of hope, this pause in his autism, this rare opening up....it has been permanently cemented into my memory & heart. As I went to bed that night, still exhausted from the last 3 days, I cried myself to sleep. But not tears of sadness for once. These were tears of joy & thankfulness. I was so overcome with gratitude that all I could say as I talked with God that night was, "Thank you, thank you, thank you." I could say nothing else. But as much joy as I was feeling, I somehow think He was even more excited.....for more reasons than I realize.