Good Days, Bad Days

Good Days, Bad Days

It all started last week, it was a typical Canadian winter week. And I being a typical Indian, am not a fan of cold or snow or shovelling or dressing up in all the winter gear or driving on slippery roads. I just wish if I could hibernate through winters. Not seeing the sun for days, for weeks makes me gloomy. And it had been snowing pretty much non-stop all last week. So much so that my eyes were tired of seeing the whiteness, the salt, the slush. This heavy snow had been weighing down my mood. I wasn’t my usual self.

It was mid of the week, late noon, time to pick kiddo from school, it’s the time of the day that I hate the most …. not because I’m scared of the tornado that accompanies my Buttercup arriving home but because of the drill, the half an hour preparation that goes behind a 5 minute drive …. I mean putting on all that winter gear, cleaning the car, shovelling the driveway. As a Bollywood buff and a huge Kajol fan, I had fantasized myself standing on the snow cladded mountains wearing a chiffon saree but trust me, having experienced Canadian winters has brought me back to senses. I prefer my parka And snow boots And cap And ear muffs And neck warmer And gloves and would wear anything that could save me from temperatures below freezing point & the wind chill.

Anyhow, I drove to the school, parked the car, walked my way through knee deep snow and thanks to the new accessory addition, the face mask, which makes it harder to breathe and harder to see when my own breath makes my glasses foggy. I took kiddo from the school door and holding hands we trudge back towards the parking lot. Unlike my elder one, my Buttercup has no stories to tell ….. I mean I’m sure she might want to share a many but falls short of words. You know that’s the thing with Autistic kids, you don’t know how much they know or if they are attentively listening because they don’t communicate. Never mind, He who doesn’t have a dog hunts with a cat. So I do the talking part, I talk to her a lot, every day, therapists say it’s a good way to increase her vocabulary so I keep throwing words at her hoping she would retain a few. I tell her that I missed her (I do everyday), I ask her if her day was fun (she never replies of course) and sometimes I sing her favourite songs, messing up the lyrics deliberately so that she sings along to correct me and that way I get to hear her voice. Today I chose to tell her that how I got up on wrong side of the bed and how my day sucked, and how I got a cut on my finger while chopping veggies (who minds some extra sympathy). The moment she heard the words “…. and mommy got a boo boo” her tiny feet stopped, she turned around and looked up at me, she took off my glove, gazed at my hand, she took off her mask and kissed me on the finger where she saw the band-aid. Unlike a neurotypical kid who would have waited to get home or at least to the car to get a look at the ‘boo-boo’ or might even have forgotten about it within seconds … there stood this Special child of mine, in the midst of a blizzard trying to comfort her mom. That’s her style, that’s her swag. In my world happiness comes in the most surprising ways. It radiates through unexpected gestures, her infectious smile, her twinkling eyes, her hugs and her giggles.

Almost all parents love their kids unconditionally. All parents go through tough times, but parents in the autism community go through rough patches much more often. Their unconditional love is truly tested and the hardest part for them being that the love isn’t given back always. Not all autistic kids share the emotion, or express love or show the connection of love.

But my Buttercup does, and I consider myself lucky. Such moments are few and far between, but they are so much bigger than everything else. Sometimes less is more. So when my Buttercup expresses it, I cherish it in a way I can’t describe. I could actually feel the warmth of the blanket of love. And just like the movie Frozen …. ‘An act of true love, melted a frozen heart’. I no longer feel the Cold, I have Spring in my heart and Snow …. It doesn’t feel that bad anymore. Its soft, its smooth, its pure and it sparkles just like my kiddo.

Sometimes we miss the obvious good all around us because we are too busy looking at the negatives. In times when things seem so overwhelming, my Buttercup keeps me sane. Sometimes it takes reminders like the one today to make me realize that Happiness is a state of mind. Happiness is a choice and life is only as tough as you think it is!

There is enough negativity in the world and we need not contribute to it by complaining and cribbing. Being happy doesn’t mean everything is perfect. It means you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections. And the only difference between good days and bad days is your attitude.

So if you’re having a bad day, put on your Joey shoes, just look in the mirror and say “How you doin?”

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