Monday, August 7, 2017

Emotional Growth

The first day of school is next week and suddenly I felt like I needed to start preparing Isaac. Last night I got into bed with him and started on my spiel about how we handle situations that make us mad and what to do if someone says something that isn’t nice. Isaac doesn't like when people bump into him, or even accidentally brush up against him--this makes carpet time and standing in line particularly challenging. He seemed to understand that yelling isn't the right path, though we’ll see how it goes when all of this is put into practice. Out of nowhere he started talking about a girl he liked at school and all about how he asked her to be his friend and that his heart thumped out of his chest when he saw her go down the slide—to show me this he joined his hands over his heart and pulled them away from his body and back in. And it dawned on me that I always pray for Isaac to have friends, or even just one buddy, because we’ve never known if he would be able to understand love and relationship the way we do. But I’m finding that as he develops he is starting to understand emotions and is expressing compassion in ways he never did before. Sometimes he even volunteers a hug which is always a special moment for me.

About a month ago, I rested my head on my arms against the kitchen counter and Isaac said, “you have a headache?” I was shocked. He’s never asked or seemed to empathize with another’s feelings or emotions. This was an incredible first. Since then he has asked me if I felt sad, and another time, if I was angry. This is really exciting progress as it shows me that his realm of understanding emotions is broadening. Perhaps this will even help him express his own feelings since to this day, when he is upset, language is the first skill to go.

As Isaac talked about the little girl who made his heart swell, I knew that I needed to start praying for his future life partner and for Isaac's sweet innocence. I think my son will be able to understand love and heartache, and passion and pleasure. It makes me happy to think that he may some day have a meaningful relationship with someone outside of our family. Since the day Isaac was diagnosed, I was saddened by what might be a lack of friendship and quality relationships in his life. But we have seen glimpses of possibility, and because relationship is central to being human, this makes me so happy. 

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