“Why don’t you dribble, Mum?”
He says to me looking up through his Bambi lashes,
As I’m tucking him into bed for the night.
And while my heart sank all the way to my toes,
There was no hint of sorrow in his voice,
Just posing a question like any other.
And I attempt to deliver my response,
Matching his quizzical calm.
So I say, “It’s because my brain is more aware of my mouth,
So much so that it sends messages for me to close my lips,
To swallow regularly,
Which clears out my mouth of any excess saliva,
So it doesn’t fall out,
And those messages are so good at travelling from my brain to my mouth,
That I don’t even have to think about doing it,
It is basically automatic”.
He is quiet for a long while as he digests this information,
To the point where I think he’s going to change the topic,
Or whisper his last “good nights”,
But instead he looks me in the eye,
Brings his finger to the top of his head,
And traces a line down the side of his face to his mouth,
“So mines like, bumpy, bumpy, bumpy?”
Alluding to a message that travels from his brain to his mouth.
And I was so stunned by his simplistic, yet virtually accurate, take on it,
That I laugh-cried.
We went on to have a chat about awareness,
And how everything he was doing with his Feldenkrais practitioner,
Was mapping out more of himself for his brain,
Locating the parts the brain wasn’t so aware of,
Particularly his mouth,
In hope that with time,
The messages wouldn’t be so “bumpy”,
But smooth and direct.
And by keeping up all the great work now,
Might mean that one day he too wouldn’t have to think about it,
And as diligently implement the tricks we have in place like the Apple Watch alarms vibrating a reminder to wipe his chin with a sweat band,
As he currently does.
And I couldn’t stress enough,
How he was doing an incredible job,
And how beyond proud we are of him,
No matter what,
As I tucked the doona tightly around him,
And wished him sweet dreams.
And what I realised in that moment,
As I closed his bedroom door,
Still slightly light-headed,
Grasping the gravity of his amazingness,
Was the reality of while we strive for the awareness to implement habitual change,
Can come the negative connotations,
And the desperation to fix.
Which honestly I have felt over the years,
And definitely more fiercely in relation to his dribbling and compromised speech,
Than other functions,
Yearning to fix it,
But to the bottom of my heart,
Wish to protect Isaac from feeling any notion of,
For as long as possible,
Or rather always,
But I also know that’s unlikely,
That this is merely one of the first,
Of many, many more questions to come.
But what this has also shown me,
Is that I can have absolute faith in Isaac,
And his strength in processing the answers to any,
Of his questions,
And self-identifyingly raw.
And if history is anything to go by,
He’ll be stronger,
At every turn.
And if he’s not,
We’ll figure it out as a team.
And keep loving him more and more and more.
The End of Chapter Thirty-One