Every night I go to bed relieved that nobody’s figured I don’t know what I’m doing. I’ve never run a food business before. I am just figuring it all as I go, which has led to many 18-20 hour days. There have been many times that I’ve thought WHAT WAS I THINKING!?! But 6 weeks in and with 6 employees, I know I’m doing something right because I’ve been watching my son transform into the man I knew he could grow to be!
In the last 6 weeks, my son has matured in ways I never expected or imagined. J like many on the spectrum has rigid and ritualistic behavior. It’s always just been part of the package for us. Every morning for last 7-8 years J has the same routine to get ready in the morning. There’s a script we say the same thing every morning. We follow the exact steps every morning. If the steps are interrupted, he has to start again. My husband has his part in this routine. Last Friday, that’s the day in the kitchen, he sent my husband the following texts.
He then proceeded to just get dressed without the script. We never thought we’d live without the script. The rigid and ritualistic behavior that we thought was imbedded, just disappeared. He hasn’t needed the script since!
Notice the time on the text. 7:27 am. J does not have to be to work until 10 am. The kitchen is a 10-minute drive from our house. He now wakes up with a purpose. Six weeks ago, I was bribing him to make it down the stairs for school work at 10:30 am. The other morning, I found him in the kitchen a 7:10 making a shopping list. He was dressed ready to go with no script. He was upset that Costco did not open until 10 am.
The other thing that’s happened, which chokes both my husband and I up is that up until 6 weeks ago my son lived a life of almost total social isolation. He spent most of his days with me. He hung out with his brother and dad on the weekends. If he wasn’t with us, we were paying someone to be with him. We even thought about hiring someone to be a friend. We’ve been lucky enough to be getting some press. A reporter asked him this week, “What do you want people to know about No Label at the Table?” I held my breath, because I didn’t know what was going to come out. He said, “I bake everything with my friends” FRIENDS , he has friends.
It’s not only his team in the kitchen, but people in the community. Whether we are at the library or Whole Foods, people are recognizing him. They give a wave and tell him he makes the best snickerdoodles they’ve ever had. He walks taller and so proud of himself. Meaningful work gives him a greater sense of self-worth.
This week, he’s meeting with a bride for a wedding testing! My husband and I are astounded that he gets to be involved with someone’s special day. How cool? 6 weeks ago, on a Friday, he would’ve been watching you tube videos. It’s unbelievable to us that he going to be able to be a part of people’s special occasions.
So as we prepare for another market, I’ll keep pretending I know what I’m doing, Because I know what I am doing is helping my son become the man he was meant to be. Other parents don’t be afraid to do what I’m doing! In six weeks my son’s whole world has changed. He’s out in the world instead of being completely isolated. He walks taller. He has friends and is part of team. I am so much less frightened about his future.
Thank you to everyone who has supported us. Thank you to everyone who has shared our news stories. Come to the markets this weekend, we will be selling cupcakes made from the leftovers of the wedding sampling. Coconut cremes, Hummingbird, Yellow and Lemon All Gluten & Dairy Free!