I’d like to think that I have a handle on things when it comes to my family, especially my kids. I don’t mean that I know what I am doing all the time but more so that I am involved in them as much as I can. Between being a husband, son, a teacher, a father to a teenager and to a three year old autistic boy sometimes the road is a little crowded. In between the therapies, the homework, and all the preparation that I do for my students, I do question the quantity time spend with my kids versus the quality time.
So when I find myself saying “wow I really miss my kids today”, although we were just together 10 minutes ago, I reflect and think I wasn’t in the moment with them. I have to admit that being sleep deprived from those unusual night stages that my son goes thru are very difficult on our family. Our monkey has school in the morning, three separate therapies during the week and therapy both on Saturdays and Sundays. Unfortunately for him, this time of the year comes with frequent hospital visits due to his respiration issues. And of course just the challenges that autism brings can be heavy on all of us, even on the monkey’s beautiful sister. So time is precious for me and I remind myself of the quality versus the quantity.
Today I had the opportunity to spend an amazing 45 minutes with my monkey. I had just picked him up from grandmas and was heading to his OT therapy. I realized that I was almost an hour early so I decided to take him to McDonalds, and then our little adventure began. It was raining hard so I covered the monkey with my light jacket and walked thru the restaurant’s door. As soon as his little feet touched the floor he took off running. Naturally I got a little nervous and followed him. He started turning around and looking at me as if “catch me if you can”. I soon realized he wanted to play this little game and I have to give in. You can’t possibly say no to that smile of his. I was following and making my monster face/sound that he recognizes when we play at home. He ran and laughed and of course it caught the attention of the people that were eating. Buy this time people began to smile and look at us as we enjoyed our moment. A group of college students even responded friendly to him when he approached them. I actually think he wanted some French fries from them. My monkey was in such a great mood and pleased with his dad that I forgot about everything else and just concentrated on him. Our food came and he sat down ready to eat his chicken nuggets with ketchup. Although he is non-verbal, we had a great conversation with deep pressure hugs and kisses that he embraced. I am very grateful for these small moments. Quality moments.