Saturday, April 05, 2008

Sunday Scribblings: My Buddy

I've been meaning to introduce you all to someone who holds a special place in my heart. This week's Sunday Scribblings prompt gave me just what I needed to get this story started.

Prompt #105: Photograph

There's a photograph of me taken in the parking lot of a mall near my home town. In it, I'm bundled in a winter coat and gloves. My hair is much shorter and darker than it's been in several years, and I'm a bit heavier, too. But I'm happy, at least in this moment, because I'm hugging to my side my favorite little boy. He's dressed in a bright yellow coat and a matching knit cap, wearing gloves that make his hands look as big as mine. He's only 6, maybe 7, in this picture, and he smiles widely beside me as his mother takes the picture.

This little boy holds a piece of my heart that will always be his. I haven't seen him in a few years, but I know he still remembers me, still thinks of me like I think of him. How could he not, after two years of long afternoons at a little table in his living room?

B was my introduction to the world of autism. We met when he was three, and he promptly stole my heart, and then bit me. He was adorable and challenging and I loved every minute I had with him. The worst tantrums weren't enough to chase me away. I watched him learn to speak his first words and phrases. Then I made him into a "burrito", wrapping him up tight in a blanket and squeezing him until he giggled.

I worked with B for a little more than 2 years, and in those two years I learned about unconditional love (on my part and his). I watched B blossom from an extremely aggressive three-year-old who could barely speak, to an almost-kindergartener speaking in complete phrases and controlling his impulses with much more regularity.

That picture of B and I sits on my desk, as a reminder that things aren't always as them seem. People can grow and change in ways you might never imagine. And sometimes bites are the best way a person can express their love for you.


Tumblewords: said...

How special this is! Very nice post!

Granny Smith said...

I admire your generosity and dedication that led to one small life moving to a safer and friendlier place.

Patois42 said...

There is no need for me to see that photo as I already "see" it. A magnificent telling.

Anonymous said...

Autism in children is such a complex, layered and deeply moving issue. This world needs more people like you who are not the parents but who are still able to offer time, patience, love and an appreciation for 'the bite'. Great SS post.

Ami said...

Thanks for the comments! Can't wait to read your Sunday Scribblings!

Anonymous said...

I would have loved to see the photo too... even though your writing captures the moment very nicely!

Ami said...

Shammi - I considered posting the photo, but didn't for a couple of reasons. 1) The post idea was a bit last minute, so I didn't have time to scan or make a digital copy of the photo. 2) I also wouldn't have felt right publishing it without permission from B's parents, and since I haven't talked to them in a while, wasn't sure if I could even get a hold of them. Glad you enjoyed the story, though!

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