Eye contact. A skill that Lucas rarely engages in when someone else is initiating the conversation, or requesting something of him that he does not really want. I know that I am a work in progress in regards to my parenting and learning more about autism. But, I started writing to be honest with myself. So here goes. It often breaks my heart that Lucas won’t look me in the face except for occasional fleeting moments, when he is trying to make sure that I hear his excited request for a favorite activity or favorite thing to eat or drink. In these moments, he will actually move my face with his two little hands, and position me to look closely at his face, assuring I don’t miss the details of his request. He carefully states his desire with anticipation. “I want milk please!” It is the sweetest thing.
That is when he wants something though. If I want to call his attention to something, I can say his name several times and get nothing out of him in regards to eye contact, or looking my way. I have learned how to get his attention. I go close to him, bring my face into his direct line of view and speak concisely, slowly, clearly. He usually responds to this. And I am grateful that we have come so far. But, there is still a part of me that grieves being able to enjoy him face to face, looking into each other’s eyes, for longer than a brief fleeting moment.
Lucas is so active, that he is pretty much a blur of constant movement, both in real life and in most photos I try to get of him. I used to be able to get him to give me a great smile in photos when I put the phone’s camera in selfie mode. He’d smile so excitedly to see himself in my camera. It was almost a foolproof way to get my great shot of him! However, he has evolved. He has learned that he does not like to look and smile for photos. That makes 90 percent of our shots either him angry or blurry from the fight to get away from the photo scene or a view of him looking at whatever has captivated his world.
This doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. I get it. But, it is to me. I will only have him this small for a little while. One day, my memories will begin to get a little harder to pull up, and details will be lost. I will want to go back through tons of old photos, and relive some of these days. Most of them will be the side of my son’s face, or him blurry as he runs, flips upside down, or yells ‘No!’ I suppose these memories will be accurate. And I will think to myself, yes, that was my little Lucas, super active and silly. But in the meantime, I will enjoy my little moments. Few and far between, but oh so treasured, when Lucas grabs my face and puts his eyes locked right on mine, and asks me, “Mama can I watch PJ Masks on TV?” I will basque in the eye contact and look of love and hope in his eyes, take in all his features, his forehead, his eyebrows, his nose, his wet little lips, and his curls. Almost as soon as I have the moment, it is gone. Knowing this reminds me to adore each and every millisecond lavishly.