Sitting here by the river with pen and paper in hand (my favourite place to write).

My spaniel by my side tilting his head from side to side as he watches the seagulls swooping and soaring through the bright winter sky.

My eyes drift out to the water as it ripples and waves, creating the most beautiful sounds. 

I'm always drawn to the water, having a seaman for a father has done that to me.

I feel at my most relaxed by the water, my worries and stress being carried away by the fresh river air.

Taking deep lung fulls of the seaweed scented air is the dose of medicine that I regularly need.

I start to wonder if my son ever feels the way I do right now.

He's severely autistic, his anxieties following him through every step of life.

I can't imagine how it must feel to be controlled by these fears and thoughts day in day out.

Every sound, light, smell is amplified to the point of pain.

Sadness washes over me at the thought of this, like the waves washing over the riverside pebbles and shells.

Then I remember a day in the summer.

A beautiful sunny day walking along this very spot watching my son walking just in front of me.

His eye's looking down away from the sun's glare, towards his moving fingers as they created patterns with the light.

His face calm, his body relaxed.

The sun's rays warming the back of his neck.

The crunching sound his shoes make on the ground catching his attention from time to time.

I saw the moment each noise reached his ears, the water, dogs running, children laughing, the seagulls above.

As he heard them his heart would skip a beat and his body tense, but each time autism stepped back into the shadows letting my beautiful non verbal son relax again.

Letting him have this moment.

Letting him feel as relaxed and free as he could possibly be.

It's quite breathtaking to watch him in this way, a glimpse of him being as close to a care free child as possible.

He moved to the waters edge, looking down as the cold water soaks through his shoes and socks giving him the feedback he needs to feel grounded.

His lips turned up into a gentle smile and his hands waving, almost dancing with glee.

When he turned to me I asked if he was happy, his reaction wasn't screeching and frantically waving his arms, shaking his head then arching his back away from me, seemingly in pain at the simple question.

Instead this time his smile not only stayed but grew! 

I believe in that moment he felt very much how I feel right now.

Happy, light and maybe even free.

So I must remember that although we are battered by the autism storm everyday and that my son at times is crippled by anxiety and fear.

There are the moments when the sky clears, when the autism storm rests peeping from behind a cloud, and my brave lad feels the sun's rays warming the back of his neck.

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