We went to see Garrett yesterday for the second time since he has been placed in a residential training facility about 90 minutes from here. Before the first visit, we had to wait a whole month to see him while he adapted to the structure of his new life.  He is doing very well, which is a conundrum to a reasonable person.  His life is so changed, so many things cannot be provided (like a computer or a swimming pool), that my sadness is overwhelming when there.  He is not sad.  He lives in the continuous present.  He was thrilled yesterday because we were going to spend the day at the beach.


The image above is from our first visit.  He was brought out from the dorm area, and there a reddish Abe Lincoln stood!  Perhaps the shaving was not a priority that first month.  We got over it; we know he does not like to shave.  This time, he was all cleaned up.  He said that he thought he should shave before seeing his parents.  His idea!


We had a great seafood lunch on Pawley’s Island before heading out to the water.  We loved this beach. Having been a South Carolinian much longer than Glenn and Garrett, and not being much of a beach person, on my rare visits I usually chose Isle of Palms.  It was familiar.  Have been also to LItchfield and Edisto and Folly.  Knowing that Isle of Palms is billed as a family beach, our expectations were similar.

It was different even from the parking.  Almost each block of the island, there is a diagonal space for about 10 cars.  This is the first limitation for a small and sweet beach.

pawleys island 1

There is nothing commercial on this beach.  It is not a problem; the restaurants are not but five minutes away.  There were so many athletic families on the beach yesterday practicing with kayaks, surfing, stand up paddle boarding, children swimming two to an inner tube.  Singles read in the dusty sand, and  moved their lounges often.  The tide was coming in and not leaving much of a beach at all.  They knew; they were locals. Easily my best beach visit.

There was no teen angst, no parading of bodies, all that stuff we have come to expect.  I focused on a teen girl.  She was so passionate about what she was doing.  About seventeen, unconsciously beautiful, hair pulled back loosely into a pony tail, she kept running into the surf to load wet sand into a cooler.  At first I thought she was using wet sand as a good base for a sand building project.  Smart and experienced.  Then she used a large circular net with uneven edges and drug it in the water over and over and over.  Her work produced nothing.

She was a special needs child, just like Garrett.  Garrett did not notice her as he was in the water most of the time we were there.  He loves the waves coming in on him: the repetition of it.  But Glenn noticed her.  Parents of these children have antennae.


Garrett loves girls.  He thinks about them a lot.  But he will not speak to peers unless spoken to.  It is just how he is.  We have had a goal of resolving this issue as long as we three have been a family, but it just is not happening. Same thing at his new facility.  He is no problem for them, but he does not initiate conversation.

We did not speak about the girl until we dropped Garrett off.  Yes, Glenn had noticed her.  But what does one do?  Start a conversation with a family leading off with “We noticed your daughter drags a big net in the water….  See our son out there letting the waves crash against him? ”

It was just a day on the beach where two special teens did not notice each other.  But in this general population, there are so few girls.  Autism with all its associated problems is such a boy’s condition.  It was hopeful as a mother to see this girl.

But that is an awful thing to say!


5 thoughts on “HOPE

  1. Lee, I love this post. In my own experience, raw emotion, true thought, and candor was what most allowed me to connect with others on this journey. (I have always described it as a journey.)
    How many times have parents noticed another, wanting to approach, yet you don’t… Is there anything to say that these parents don’t know? Maybe. Maybe not.
    Feeling hopeful at the sight of life in action is warming.
    I so love this post, for everything you say.

  2. What a happy day for all three of you. So glad to know that Garrett has readily adjusted…now you can finally have that honeymoon!

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