My son is on the Autism spectrum and has ADHD. I always laugh and say he can intensely focus for short periods, then is easily distracted. He lives in the moment. Always. He questions statements regarding time and events. “In a minute” means in sixty seconds. He doesn’t miss a trick. He says what he thinks. Always. It’s difficult as a parent to monitor and hard to do damage control.
However, he never misses seeing a dropped coin on the sidewalk. He can spot a tiny brown tree frog on a dirt path in an instant. He can hear an owl hoot from miles away. His eyes and ears catch the world differently than mine. He is also hyper-aware of smells, sounds, and taste as well. He is known to leave a building because of his senses being overwhelmed. He will spit food out after one taste. He will say remarkable phrases like “It is so beautiful.”
This is the same child who tries to insert “whatever” and “so” into any response. Yet, he notices life and its beauty all the time. He loves animals and nature. Will sit patiently waiting for the right opportunity to fish or catch a frog. A beautiful snowfall or leaf pile will prompt him to be outside immediately.
He wakes up every morning with the phrase, What can I do? Exhausting to hear as a parent, but he wants to be busy. His brain works a mile a minute. He never sees obstacles, just possibilities. More often than not, those brainstorms are impossibilities, but not to him. He is the child who envisions a man on the moon, living on Mars, or remote control robots to do your homework. “No” has never stopped this child. Ever.
When he was little, I had the gates and pens. He only wanted to explore and roam. He didn’t miss Mom; he wanted to be free. These days the Internet is where he roams. He is looking for projects, ideas, and opportunities. He loves the silly songs, performing cats, and elaborate Habitrails he can find on YouTube. He is with like-minded people there. Others who view the present as the opportunity to dream bigger and better.
There are times when I feel exhausted and overwhelmed as a parent; some of my son’s behavior is frustrating to me as a mom. However, his ability to be present in every moment is a gift to me. I don’t always stop and smell the roses. Sometimes, I don’t even see the roses. My son does.