When she reappeared behind the desk, she returned the waxy, yellow document to me, and I slowly folded it up to place in the zippered pouch inside my purse. She made small talk by commenting on my organizational skills, and I laughed, knowing that yesterday's crusty breakfast dishes were soaking in my kitchen sink waiting for me when I arrived home. What she did next surprised me. She leaned over the counter, directly into my personal space, as if she were about to reveal a guarded secret.
She said, "You know, Erik is my favorite."
She then explained how he had reached up to tightly grip her hand when it was time for him to board the bus the other day. She described how she let him lead her out the front door and the way he jumped with alarm when the incoming bus hissed loudly to a stop. How he apparently looked up at her and said, "Air brakes." She giggled at the memory, and I smiled back.
I can't count the times I have heard that Erik is somebody's "favorite." I know that people generally love children, but I am beginning to wonder if some of that weird special something in Erik that I have always seen is shining through in a big way and pulling people in. At the beginning of this, I dismissed my amazement, knowing that I do not see things very clearly in my role as his mother. Especially one who has never been around children a heck of a lot. After all, even if he were miserable to be around, I would still believe he was the greatest thing since sliced bread. However, as time passes, I can clearly see the unique effect he has on the people around him. Even the pathologically cranky ones. I am often amazed at the magic that Erik seems to exude. Erik has a confidence I can only dream of.
For people who are new at this Williams syndrome thing, all I can say is JUST WAIT.
Yes, the diagnosis is devastating. I know this well, and it always will be at some level. Yes, it feels as if the world is ending. Hang in there. You will be completely blown away as your personal story unfolds and you dare to open your eyes. As the innocence manifests itself. As the love pours from your child like a river from an almost heavenly spring you cannot see. As you let your defenses fall away and the world sees your child for who he is for the very first time. As little miracles become everyday occurrences. As he touches people who are hurting in places you could never reach with your adult words and your carefully rehearsed, socially acceptable phrases. As he becomes your personal hero. It sounds completely crazy. I know it does.
I wish I could share with you how incredible this experience feels.
For now, there is only one thing I can say.