Monday, November 10, 2014

The Space Where Our Minds Meet

As a writer, I find it quite interesting that my son has a communication disorder. You see, my mind works in words - I can hear them flowing in my brain, I can even see me typing them in my mind as I speak. It's hard to shut them off and some days I feel like my head will burst if I don't put pen to paper. This week has been one of those weeks. I've just had this intense need to write, this urge that won't be fulfilled until I sit down and do just this - type. It's hard to organize my thoughts as they ebb and flow in all directions, swirling and racing. But these words that I love so much, I know they come so hard for JD. His autism makes it difficult for him to express himself.

Much of the time JD lives in his own world - seeming to be deep in thought. Sucking his thumb, staring into space as his rubs the edge of his monkey blanket back and forth; he leaves me to wonder what he's thinking about. But luckily there are moments when JD lets me into his world.

Like tonight...I was putting JD to bed and he wanted to tell me a story. Something about a Lego Ninjago warrior that he's worried will lose his power and be destroyed. After trying to explain to him that the ninja wasn't real, he went into great detail to dispute my claims and explained this warrior and what had happened to him. He was truly worried about this warrior and didn't want to go to sleep until we discussed it. It was at that moment that I realized - although JD has a difficult time communicating with his words, his mind races just like mine. He thinks of stories and lives in this universe where it's hard to concentrate on reality. His mind is also like a dam that's about to break but unlike me, he doesn't have a way to get it out.

I can't imagine how frustrating that must be. Now thinking back I realize I've heard it many, many times in his speech. He stumbles and hesitates, gets excited looking for the right words to explain what he's trying to say. But when left uninterrupted, unrushed, he can tell long stories with extreme detail and precision - it's like once he begins, it all flows.

That's the place I love. It's the space where our minds meet. I understand the need he has to tell his story, whether or not it makes any sense to anyone else. It's in those stories that he makes sense of the world, tries to connect to other people and makes room in his brain for new information. His rambling stories are like my ramblings blog posts - they clear the mind and give our bodies a sense of ease that can't be found anywhere else.

I'm thankful for those stories, those words, because I know so many kids like him don't have them. It's easy to get frustrated by the repetition, the rambling and the crazy sound effects that accompany his stories (and if you know JD you know what I'm talking about), but it's moments like tonight that remind me that it's his way of sharing his world with me. :)