"It goes by so fast", people decades older than me would say when they looked longingly at my beautiful little Ryan as a tiny baby. "He will be grown in the blink of an eye", chimed the old folks who wistfully saw their own, now grown baby in the face of my son. "Enjoy them while they are young", they would shout as their own happy memories went careening through their mind in a "blink of an eye".
At the time I thought, "What a bunch of negative naysayers!". However, now, I realize that these folks had already blinked and they saw moments that were still ahead for me, but, were gone for them. So, why not ruin my joy for 10 seconds, right?! Back then, I thought these naysayers were ridiculous. I thought they were exaggerating. I certainly thought that an eye took much longer to blink, than 300-400 milliseconds, but, alas, as usual, this young'in was wrong, and my curmudgeonly, naysaying elders were right. The knew because they had blinked.
Now, as I look back, and can see for myself how quickly it's all going, I want to super glue my eyelids open. I blink (because my brain tells my eyes to do so) and then I think, WTF?! "WTF", an equally quick, abbreviated acronym that I say quietly inside my head almost as frequently as I blink, but, not nearly as frequently as my sweet little boy, turned teenager says....out loud.
It's true how quickly life passes by and sadly, you can't super glue your eyelids open, you really do have to blink (for a whole host of medical reasons that I can't get into here because I'm too dumb). I swear in this day of modern technology, the blinking has become faster, the pace quicker and the time on hyper-speed, all things my wise elders also warned me about. In this tech savvy day of texting, we are so hurried that in the blink of an eye, we can abbreviate a sentence and eliminate the swear word (WTF, WTH, GTFO, HS). We can shorten a hearty laugh to (LOL, LMFAO) and we can hurriedly abbreviate an expression of love (ILYSM, XOXO). In our attempt to blink quickly and move on, we often don't take the time to really swear when we need to, laugh when we can, and love when we feel it.
Even though Ryan took his good old time when it came to potty training, I couldn't blink fast enough to get through it. The shirt chewing and the remove every tag that could possibly be felt anywhere phase, destroyed many a shirt, so I tried to blink away that phase in order to have a little money left for retirement. The echoing like a parrot phase was so frustrating for both of us because Ryan couldn't communicate what he wanted and so I couldn't determine his needs and this frustration caused warp speed blinking. And although I would not want to relive those phases, I'm now smack down in the middle of the "WTF" stage. Blink, blink, blink, blink.
Back when Ryan refused to go number 2 on the potty, or stop chewing his shirts or only answered my question with my question, all I could think was, "When will this pass?" and "Why can't he be like everyone else?". Maybe not the best Mom of the Year thoughts, but, they were AWEnest thoughts none the less. Now, today, with Ryan's abbreviated, text like teenage language, I got my wish...sort of.
I've tried to explain to my literal language interpreter that even though he is not actually saying f***, the (F)*** in WTF is implied, therefore, it kind of is like swearing. "No, it's not! I didn't say a swear word!" and technically, literally he didn't....he hasn't.....and chances are....he won't. So, WTF do I do?
With all the blinking I have done over the years, through the good moments and the hard moments, I have never once wanted to blink and open my eyes and find someone who is not Ryan in front of me. Yes, there have been times I wished for more neurotypical behavior and less autism like behavior. And yes, there were times I would blink so slowly in an attempt to shut out the tougher moments altogether. Then, inevitably, I would try and blink away that moment of guilt that engulfed me. Had I only listened, had I only realized how fast a blink was, I would have tried harder to take it all in slowly and never take my eyes off this AWEsome boy.
As I handed this sweet baby over, I sniffed his head one last time before releasing him, hugged my proud nephew and his equally proud girlfriend and thought, do not blink it away, because one day, you will wake up and he will be grown and you will be the one thinking, "WTF?!".