Yesterday we took Mateo to a birthday party for his 4 year old cousin at a Gymnastics place. I didn’t know what to expect- I thought he would probably run around in circles and jump on the trampoline. Moments like these make me realize how much I underestimate his abilities.
There are about 10 kids there ranging from age three to age 10. There are two teenage coaches that are directing the birthday party. They ask the kids to stand in line. Mateo runs ahead. I tell the coach “He doesn’t listen to directions very well.” I wonder, should I tell him he’s autistic? Should I just see how he does? I decide to just let him be Mateo- no labels- let’s just see how he does. Coach says “That’s ok.”
The children all stand in line behind the coach, Teo decides to step in line. They start walking he darts to ahead again. Coach says to Mateo “back in line!” Teo keeps walking ahead. I redirect him back in line. I tell the coach, “he also has trouble communicating, just so you know.” Coach says again, “It’s ok”.
I am trying not to be the paranoid Mom, trying to just let him try. So I stand back, WAY back, far away where I can barely see him.
And then the kids line up on a line, Mateo, right in line with all the kids. The coach tells the kids to run to the other line and stop. Teo does it perfectly. The coach tells the kids to walk on their hands to the other line. Teo does it just like the other kids. He follows every move the coach asks him to- exactly!
I am so thrilled, jumping for joy in my heart. The other moms are just watching- they expect their kids to follow the directions, they expect their kids to do what the others are doing, but me- I am celebrating! I don’t tell them his diagnosis, I just let him be..Mateo!