Autism Dad: “Holding Hands”

This weekend Ben was needier than usual. He insisted that I stay in his orbit 24/7; even to the bathroom he accompanied me. We took a two-mile walk, stopping along the way to share a sandwich at the playground. Ben’s left hand clutched a straw, his tapping tool; the other hand was reserved for me. We walked and walked, pausing only to open our water bottle. Even then, Ben wouldn’t let go of my hand.

Back at home, Ben jumped on the trampoline. I parked myself in the comfy patio furniture and sat back to enjoy the entertainment. But as soon as Ben saw me, the show was over — he jumped off the trampoline and ran to me.

“Sif me,” he said.

He perched himself on my lap and leaned in close. I should point out that my 5-year-old also loves to cuddle, but just a little is enough for restless Ryan, who will shower me with affection for up to one minute before leaping off my knee in search of his next adventure. Ben, on the other hand, was in no hurry to leave the position he had staked out for himself. And that suited me just fine.

Later that evening we got under the covers and I coaxed Ryan to sleep. Ben was wide awake, patiently waiting his turn. As soon as Ryan fell asleep, Ben maneuvered over to my side of the bed, inching closer and closer until our bodies were nearly inseparable. Moments later he shut his eyes; any signs of anxiety receded. Both boys were out cold!

“Guess that long walk did the trick,” I thought to myself. “Finally I can get some work done.”

But as I tried to sit up, I became acutely aware that Ben was clutching my hand from under the covers. How do you extricate yourself from that? And the better questions: Why would you want to? Are you crazy? That’s when I realized that, paperwork be damned, I wasn’t going anywhere…

…but to sleep.




This entry was posted in April 2011 and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Autism Dad: “Holding Hands”

  1. Beautiful.
    Kids first, anxiety in the background, all sleeping… win-win.

  2. Carla Altland says:

    I really like the way you describe all of this and it is a blessing to sleep too!! I can never get my paper work done, but being with them and having all the hand holding and hugging is super , better to have that than anything in the world!! Way to go Dad!!Keep on writing too>>>>>>

    • Autism Dad says:

      Thank you Carla….I agree….we can get so stressed and feel all that anxiety about work…but so much better to release it and just focus on our kids, bc they make us happy!!!

  3. B's dad says:

    I have spent two weeks of my Easter break feeling guilty about neglecting paperwork, in favour of time with the boys. I’m glad I read this post as it makes me feel better about what I knew anyway- family first. I look forward to reading your blog. I am the father of a three year old boy, recently diagnosed. I have recently begun writing about this in a blog and am beginning to explore other blogs out there. Good to see another dad’s perspective as most blogs are by mums.

    • Autism Dad says:

      Craig, thank you so much for finding my blog and for taking the time to post a comment. Very nice to hear from another dad in a similar situation. I will be sure to check out your blog! Many thanks again……..

  4. Missy says:

    This is pretty much they way my lil man falls a sleep every night. Lately he has been complaining of “illnesses” that he isn’t showing symptoms of. I’m starting to wonder if his autism & school are stressing him out. Or maybe he really does have headaches that come and go several time a day???

    • Autism Dad says:

      Hey Missy — thanks for reading and for posting your comment! I wish I had an answer for your question. I am wondering if could be anxiety. Also, maybe seizures?

  5. Shaun Somers says:

    My boy wants to hold my hand just about whenever we walk too – though never like this. He’s getting bigger, and I sometimes struggle with when – if ever – I should tell him he doesn’t need to anymore.
    Thanks for this post.

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