I am watching my son, eleven-and-a-bit years, eat his lunch.
He has the same meal every day—oven chips, carrot and chicken. He takes comfort in the familiar—needs it, like he needs oxygen.
He is using both a fork and a knife.
More than that—he is using ordinary cutlery. He no longer needs specially shaped knives, forks and spoons that are shaped to make it easier to lift food from plate to mouth.
Just beautifully ordinary cutlery.
Taken from the cutlery drawer without a thought and slipped quietly next to plates and bowls.
He still won’t touch food with his bare hands, but this? This one we’ve conquered—the sweet result of years and years of working intensely on a simple skill.
My son is autistic. He also has dyspraxia. Simple instructions such as co-ordinating a knife and a fork at the same time, get lost in the conflicting messages between his neurological system and his muscles.
At least, it used to. Forks and knives and hands and mouth, now listen to his brain.
Dyspraxia impacts his life in hundreds of ways, but we have worked so hard.
Giving up, has never been an option.
We don’t know the meaning of those words.
There have been lots of tears.
Mine and his, and we are intimately familiar with frustration.
But give up?
So, here we are, the two of us, on a quiet Thursday afternoon. It is raining outside, I am having a cup of tea and I am watching my boy eat his lunch with a knife and a fork, and it is an utterly beautiful thing.
— the sweetness of simple things, hard won.
© Liezel Graham 2020.
Photograph William Rouse.
A little glimpse into life in my home and the sweetness of simple things that are hard won.