Bud loves the water. All water. Any water. He loves to play with water balloons, with watering cans, in puddles, in the rain, with a sink full of water, in the bathtub, in pools, near streams, at the lake; Bud has never met a body of water he didn't like.
This weekend we made our annual trip to the ocean so Bud could ride the waves of the frosty Atlantic. Despite the high temperatures, the ocean breeze was chilly and the water was so cold that the only souls brave enough to actually submerge themselves appeared to be under the age of 13. I stood with the other cowardly parents shivering on the shore, feeling intrepid when the waves crashed over our feet.
We were there at high tide, and between the thunder of the crashing waves and the roar of the winds whipping off the water it was impossible to hear much of anything. So I watched Bud and the other children around him as they starred in their own silent movie.
Each child was in a world of his own, engaged in a struggle of kid vs. nature, some armed with boogie boards, some preferring to take on the waters with only their bare bellies for armor.
They each crashed into the waves, the water splashing into their faces and over their heads, and then sprang to their feet, startled by the cold, talking rapidly to themselves, shaking their arms and flapping their hands, hopping and staggering to warm themselves, then turning around to start again.
It's funny: so many parents of autistic children talk about their hope that someday their child will be indistinguishable from other children.
But as I watched Bud bobbing and weaving with the other children in that magical land of Atlantis it struck me: here, they have all become indistinguishable from him.