It’s that time of year again where thunder storms roll through the night. You can either fear them or enjoy them. I tend to enjoy them; however, Will usually does not like storms at all. Sometime in the wee hours of the morning, I was awoken by the brightest flash that pierced through my eyelids, quickly followed by a deafening clash of thunder. I spent the next few moment lying in bed waiting for a meltdown only a parent of a developmentally disabled or autistic child would know. Nothing. Maybe the storm literally scared Will to death. Extremely unlikely. Maybe he slept through it. Again, unlikely. I decided the best course of action was to do nothing. If I checked on him, it might trigger the meltdown I was expecting to happen.
When he woke me up to help get him off the potty, he asked me if I heard that really loud thunder last night. I, of course, said I had. He asked me what time it was. I couldn’t tell him an exact time. He then states, “It wasn’t that scary this time. Maybe it was a dream instead.” I was shocked! In a year, he has grown up so much; matured so much. There was no need to hover over him like a worried parent during this storm. He had it covered, and he was very confident about it.
One of the hardest things for a parent is to walk that fine line of helping and letting children figure things out on their own. I also have a typical son who is a couple of years older. Children can sometimes act like the dumbest of creatures Darwin would have assumed doomed. How can this child possibly do this complex task when I have to tell him to put down a bag in order to be able to open up a door? Then, out of nowhere, children will surprise you by doing something so out of character you wonder if you are dreaming or dead.
Storms come and go just as special moments in our lives do. One of the most satisfying moments in a parent’s life is knowing that your child has this; that he/she can do this without help. We still want to help because we are parents, but in some cases, the best help is not helping at all.