Today, my socially anxious son high-fived four characters at Dreamworld and cuddled one.
It was an ordinary moment that I'm sure happens regularly for many families, but for Royden, this was a huge breakthrough.
I looked around when it happened each time and was shocked to find noone else celebrating, when it felt like my heart was going to leap right out of my chest. Could noone else hear the choir of angels singing "The Hallelujah Chorus"? No? Just me?
I didn't really expect that others would notice. I was, afterall, surrounded by families whose children ran enthusiastically towards the characters, whilst my son tentatively inched his way towards them.
I realised through this experience that these incredible breakthrough moments happen all the time for parents all around us and we have no idea. What is commonplace for one person can be so incredibly significant for another.
I shared the moment on social media and one friend wrote the following:
"It's a moment where there are no words that are enough to describe what you feel or think….. I know for me when I have those breakthroughs with (my daughter), any way I try to describe it is only just a fraction of the actual impact."
That statement showed me that there are others out there who know the joy of recognising the moment that is just a glimpse of hope that there is a future beyond what our child is currently experiencing. Whether it's social anxiety, learning difficulties, physical limitations – anything that holds our child back, to catch a glimpse that they will find their way of successfully engaging in the world, despite their limitations, is an enormous privilege and a joy beyond words.