What is so great about my kitchen helper is that she puts so much love into what she is making that tasting good is the only possible outcome. I have lost that love, dinner is something I whip up after rushing home just to get something, anything, edible on the table. Some days it’s good, some days the whole family sighs at the smell, others I stop right in the middle and we order take away.
Noah is 6 years old. Noah is nonverbal. Noah has autism.
This post was to be about Autism. But that’s not what it turned out to be. It turned out to be about Noah, who just happens to have autism, and his mom. About 6 months ago my husband said to me “hey, I went to highschool with this girl I think you’d like her, she writes blogs”. I thought because she blogs I’d like her?
Well, he forwarded me a blog where Alisa was talking about her son Noah. It blew me away. He was right, I did like her, just from reading that one blog post. The way she writes is the way I try to make images. She speaks with purpose, with a vision, and we both try to let people in on a deeper level. Alisa’s writing is informative, but easy to read , she keeps it on a very personal level. She always willing to be Noah’s voice, and that voice is loud!
I contacted her on Fb to let her know I appreciated her writing and she turned around and said the same thing to me about my images. She mentioned that she loved that I was able to capture not just my children’s faces but capture them as who they honestly are. She also said to me that she has never had anyone able to take photos of Noah and have that personal feeling. We talked more. I needed to know more. I needed to meet this amazing little boy I have read so much about.
On January 11 2015 I was invited into their home to try to capture just a smidgen of who this complex, multi- layered little boy is. I watched and listened to Alisa speak about Noah. With such pride her tired eyes would light up and her smile, oh her smile, all just by saying his name. But I could also hear a deep fear in her voice. And there it was. At one point she said “what if something happened to me?” Being completely realistic and knowing things can happen at any time to anyone of us she also said “Me leaving anytime soon is not an option” as she threw her hands out in the air.
I know nothing about autism. I had thoughts and now I see obviously false understandings as to what the autism spectrum means. Even after spending a day talking with this incredibly strong woman and documenting Noah I still know nothing about autism. However, I do know a little more about a smart, funny, and very connected little boy.
Alisa knows why Noah is in her life and she is truly grateful. I know we are here to teach and help our children but if you let them they have plenty to teach us too. Most of the time we are so busy living day by day you forget that there is not only one way to look at this world, it’s not all black and white. Noah getting his arms creamed, this is done to relieve the itch. Balls. Noah’s favourite. He bounced and bounced the whole time I was there. He takes his mom by the hand and tells her what he wants, push of the arm is no. When he looks for something to eat in the fridge, he wants his back tickled. And his legs squeezed. Alisa is happy to provide this comfort. I noticed he went to the fridge just for this. I asked if my camera was too much for him, he looked concerned. He was curious. He later took some photos of his mom himself.
He wanted downstairs. After a quick lay down and some music to reset the mood, Noah was back. Another game of ball. Noah took mom’s hand and mine and pulled us down the hallway to her room then.. closed the door. Two seconds later he opened the door and she yelled SURPRISE! – exactly what he wanted. He walked us back to Alisa’s room over and over, sometimes for play but this time he needed some cuddles.
As a little girl my mom would take me to the beach ALL summer long. We would park, get out of the car and we would run down the big hill to the tunnel, the tunnel that echoed our excited screams and our silly giggle fits. Usually sometime before, during or after a swim in the pool we would hit the beach and look for sea animals, mostly crabs, but me and my kids seem to find a lot of starfish. The fun of exploring and soaking up the sun is a HUGE childhood memory for me and it’s something I am organically passing down onto my kids. At first I didn’t realize I was recreating my childhood, but when you have fun memories it’s just so easy to do what you know and enjoy. We would swim and munch on homemade snacks, maybe grab some fish and chips and just lay in the sun. We had a wicker beach basket that was filled with cards, some board games and magazines. I remember as I got older I would hold one handle and my mom would hold the other, that just came to me and now I’m smiling. The beach is where I learned to play crib and backgammon, my mom always, in her words, whoooooped my butt! Of course there are subtle differences like, I use a wagon not a wicker basket for instance but the one major difference is I document our memories. I would give almost anything for just a look back into those days, those days that where just not “special” enough to bring the camera for.
At the end of the day I can vividly remember my mom handing me her change purse so I can go to get a Popsicle. You know the one, the one with the 3 different colours the red, white and blue one. The lady behind the concession counter always remembered what I liked and always had time to ask how I was and how much fun I was having- no matter how busy she was. To this day that lady is still there and she talks to my kids just like she used to talked to me. She tells me my daughter looks like me and it’s like a blast from the past, there is always a sigh and a “I can’t believe you’re a mom already”.
If it was above 25 degrees my mom knew where to find me, our happy place, New Brighton Park a hidden gem in the middle of East Vancouver. I would be sitting with my kids and I would look over my shoulder through the chain link fence and there she would be sitting on the bench patiently waiting to hang out with her grandchildren.
I still look to see, I know the bench will now be empty but I can’t help but look anyways.
Now head on over to see what Maria has been up to. CLICK HERE.
At day at the duck pond.
My son has a way with animals, even most bugs, they love him and it’s not uncommon for them to flock to him. Friends and family have joked about him being the next croc hunter or Dr. Doolittle, but I don’t think they are far off. He has a connection with them that my daughter does not have, but she tries oh so hard. While these ducks and geese are so used to humans and humans feeding them they still act a bit jumpy. But then there is my son, crouched down at their level patiently waiting for them to feel comfortable. When they are comfortable they walk over find the food in his hand and nibble away all while he pets them and talks to them. Usually a crowd will form and you hear peoples whispers and the pointing, sometimes they will say something to me, something like “aren’t you scared they will hurt your son? he is so close” or “your son has a connection that I have never seen before”. When I ask my son why he thinks animals love him so much he says “because they know I love them.”
Lately I have watched my son and I have noticed a few things, some things I knew before, but some things are just coming to the light. He is a (2x gold medal winning) Martial Artist , he will be starting his next Martial Art in Sept (he’s newly 6 now). He loves indoor skydiving, gymnastics and rock climbing… All single man sports. While he is the first to congratulate his fellow artist or thrill seeker I think he prefers to be in his own mind. He has always been a little unsure of himself, nervous, and painfully shy especially around new people so maybe this explains his love for animals. Maybe I am a mom on the constant search for some sort of answer, an answer to what I don’t really know? My son and daughter are very different people, different right from the core. Maybe I can’t understand why two people who are in the same house made from the same two people can be so different. The logical side of me knows everyone is different and I know many moms would agree that their kids are the same way, but I still search for some sort of answer. Maybe, no not maybe, it hurst me to see him so shy and I feel like he is missing out on so many things because of it. While he is BLOOMING so wonderfully, I guess I still worry. I worry about what is going on in his head, if he’s okay, if he feels different. It’s common to fear what we don’t understand, or am I fearing a feeling I personally know so well. This is me being a Mom, the only kind of mom I know how to be.
In all facts I am worrying about nothing, he is perfectly fine AS IS.
Now head over to see Maria’s 10 on 10 for july
We decided to do take a much needed mini family vacation, boy did we need this. We did a little of this, a little of that but doing some indoor skydiving was a highlight for my son. Well, here he goes. Fuel for my daredevils soul.
Well, this month didn’t go as planned… I had another set of images all ready to go for this round but hey, you roll with the punches. You need to follow your heart. When I saw all these images of my dad scattered on my desktop they needed a place, together, this is a little deeper for me than it seems or that I will get into. I am trying to make changes and oddly this seems like a start. Photos are my comfort zone, and my camera is my shield. I needed these images to be together and easy for me to access, so I am sharing here- with you. This is the first time I made a set of images of just HIM.
Now scoot on over to see MARIA, she is awesome-I promise.