The pig, of course, has always maintained a place of honor in Brooks’s room (with the book at its feet), but I don’t remember the last time we talked about it. So when I was giving Brooks and my husband a tour of his new first-grader bedroom, I asked Brooks if he remembered who made him the pig. Surprisingly, he didn’t.
But he knows now—we retold the story that my son now has the necessary skills and maturity to understand and retain. And when I suggested we match up the pictures in the book to the pig, he was thrilled to try it. So finally, the three of us carefully flipped the pig around and identified each picture, just the way Laura predicted so long ago.
And when Brooks saw the last page of the book—of Laura holding the freshly-painted pig—his smile filled the room.
There is an undeniable and exclusive joy that accompanies times like these, when I am hit so squarely with how far Brooks has come. But I have to admit that I am also haunted by what might have been if he hadn’t responded so well to therapy—how I would have managed to accept never hearing the sound of his excited high-pitched voice as he finds the butterfly: “Look Mom: It’s right here!”
For better or worse, these emotions are intertwined for me. They weigh me down like a bronze statue and they make me as light as a hummingbird on a pig.
Marni Goltsman, web producer at the Paley Center and blogger at Insideschools.org, is currently writing a full-length play based on her experiences with autism. Insideschools.org, a project of the Center for New York City Affairs at The New School, features independent reviews of all NYC public schools as well as timely information on admissions and other education policies important to all families.
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