Where We've Been
It’s strange yet truly wonderful what your children do to you, they make you weak and break your heart in a million different ways and yet they make you strong; stronger than you ever thought you could be. It was my child that had me set on makng this journey alone, at first. N didn’t have the time and with much persuasion from my parents and him, I gathered the strength to go on this journey alone. Such are the wonders of God that my Nasri too, managed to pull some strings in his daddy’s heart to make him join me an offer I couldn’t refuse with a silent thank you sent to the One up above. He heard my prayers Alhamdulillah, as I truly wanted N to be with me so that I had his support on whatever that needed to be done after this journey.
So - N and I have been in the US for the past two weeks. We called it a holiday with a purpose. The main aim was to find help for our son Nasri and to see what more we could do to make life better for him as it seemed to us that there is so much more we could do. Of course, having made a trip all the way, we had to slot in some “holidaying” in between. It was really hard though for me to leave the boys as I had never left them for more than 5 days and the thought of them not being within 2 hours of reach from me for a whole 16 days was unnerving.
We arrived at the Option Institute in Masachussetts late Sunday evening on the 25th of February. It was already dark US time but I could see that the grounds were beautiful and the surrounding area serene and a pristine white covered with snow. My heart was thumping thousands of beats per second. It seemed like I’ve waited for this moment all my life, and then – there I was! We were there for this progamme called SonRise, a programme designed the help mainly autistic people of all different ages and we attended the start-up programme which was mainly to train parents or even professionals on how to help the development of autistic children/people or children with any other form of developmental delays. You may have heard of it; as a documentary on it was aired on Astro sometime November last year.
The moment I stepped my first step into the lecture hall, my eyes welled up and I just cried and cried. It was overwhelming. Why? I don’t know. Maybe it was because every single stranger (and there were 66 of them) understood me better than any other person did back home and that we shared the same hopes and dreams. Maybe it was the anticipation of it all and the months of planning just to make sure it could happen and the feeling of relief that I was finally there. Maybe it was just a big slap on my face that God answers all our prayers and there was HOPE; something I wanted to see but never dared to really “hope” for. . Maybe it was the humbling realization that my little Nasri could make us travel all the way in search of some answers for him. I still can’t figure it out, but it was overwhelming enough for me to bawl my eyes out – but, oh, I wasn’t the only one! Phew!
The week sped by too fast. There was so much to learn, yet so little time. We had full intensive sessions on techniques, methods and Q & A and experience sharing sessions that there was hardly time to breath. One entry would not be enough to tell you how much we learnt and what we gained. I had stepped into the Institute telling myself that I had nothing to lose, and I stepped out knowing that it was well worth every penny spent. Learning from all other parents was a big plus point in itself. Sure, some of the things were things that I already knew, but nothing beats actually being trained in person and having a little memory jog on things I already learnt in the past. The techniques were refreshing and somewhat different from what little I had encountered before but it made a lot of sense and we came out more confident as parents.
Most importantly was the self-realization of it all. That there’s more of me than I ever dared to see and knew I had; knowing that I am my child’s best resource and only by being that I earn get to be called “Mama” and that there’s even more of Nasri than I ever dreamt I could get.
So- that’s where we’ve been. As for Nasri and us, I don’t claim to be an expert, but I do know that I’m better off than where I was only two weeks back. And, just knowing that tells me we’re set to go a long way, insyaallah!