Sydney is fearless, she’s bold and adventurous. Silence in our home was not the norm. So when I wouldn’t hear her playing, laughing, screaming or singing I would panic.
When I hear the stories of children with autism wandering off and drowning it scares me. Sydney has always been curious about nature, flowers, water and animals. She would always chase the rabbits, butterflies, groundhogs and even the deer. Thank goodness we lived in the cul de sac, because she couldn’t run far from home when we were all outside.
Sydney has an obsession with balloons. She loves to twirl and dance with them. Most children throw a fit when they let the balloon fly away. Well Sydney’s brain is telling her the exact opposite. If we had balloons in the house from a party or someone bought them for her she would open the front door and stand on the porch and watch them fly away.
One day we were getting ready to leave the house. Harrison was dressed and ready to go. Sydney would do three outfit changes before leaving the house, that was her routine. On this particular day, halfway through her outfit change. Sydney was able to open the front door and bust through all of my childproof gadgets. I heard the door close and remember Harrison yelling, “Mom we got a runner!”
I took off running like Flo Jo. I blocked everything and everyone out and focused on catching Syd. I forgot I wasn’t dressed appropriately to be running around outside.😱 Let’s just say that the mailman delivering the mail that day on Green Valley Street wasn’t prepared to see what he saw on our front lawn. I was too tired to be embarrassed, just happy Sydney was safe. But the mailman could never look me in the eye after that day, except closer to Christmas when he got his gift.
I am a helicopter mom because I have to have eyes in the back of my head. I’m thankful that Sydney can tell people her name and she finally learned my cell phone number. She knows she lives in Delaware and knows my first and last name. But I wonder if she would be able to communicate that in a stressful situation. I’ve bought several ID bracelets and necklaces and she’s lost them all. Harrison told me not to worry about Sydney getting kidnapped because she would probably beat up her attacker. And if by chance he did kidnap her, he would bring her back.😊
I have cards that list her medical and contact information and I put them in her clothes. I’ve learned to be ready at all times even when she seems to be okay. Our neighbors know Sydney and have my contact information, God forbid she wanders off. Just the other day we were all outside packing the car to leave. A family was walking down the street and I was so happy to hear her say “hello there” in that high pitched voice. In the blink of an eye she skipped off after the family and wanted to go with them. Because I was rushing I didn’t read her the social story, which helps children with autism understand what to expect and go over the expectations for staying close to me. This was my wake up call to slow down.
People tell me relax, she’s fine just let her go and explore. But I can’t help to think of the unpredictability of every situation. I know that in 60 seconds all hell could break loose and our lives could change in an instant.