Love and joy come to you…

The sky has been overcast all day and we have witnessed a flurry here and there while running our errands.  J, of course, was bundled up and wearing a new t-shirt that the Fourth Day of Christmas bestowed upon him.  This, thank goodness, was met with a little more enthusiasm than any of the previous gifts, and we are grateful.  The one thing we noticed last night, and which we smacked our foreheads about, was that J wants movies.  Yes, every DVD box that passes from hand to hand is grabbed and kidnapped, even if the movie is nothing that would normally pique his interest.

Ask me, please, how many movies he grabbed today at the store?  Three…and one Tony Bennett Christmas CD.  The child has been craving silver colored discs and here we have been (like the cotton-headed ninnymuggins we are) giving him stuff that isn’t anywhere near as much fun…  For his stocking, of course, I purchased an iTunes card…and Pop Rocks, and a whoopee cushion…and that’s Christmas morning in a nutshell…

Today, in the middle of flurries and cold air and people dashing to and fro putting things in carts, it suddenly dawned on us: J can now go shopping at four different places without any major complaint.  Sure, we hit the first store (next to the one he wanted to visit) and he hemmed and hawed a little, but it was in the spirit of “come on!  Really?” rather than “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”  AFTER he shopped for his things (with his little foam board booklet in hand,) we went to two more stores and there was no protesting at all.  We have learned, gasp!, patience.

How did this happen?  When was the magical moment when our life stopped being about Godzilla tearing through Tokyo?  I don’t know.  I cannot possibly pinpoint one single moment that stands out, but -this is the beauty of it- I can string several of them together along the past year and a half and I come up with a pretty cool beaded necklace of steps-forward.

J has become enough of a teenager to befuddle us as he would without the Autism present; he has also overcome enough of his obstacles to make our life much easier.  We no longer need a baby monitor.  We seriously don’t turn it on unless he’s sick and I am busy downstairs.  And, furthermore, he no longer feels like everything that bothers him is a paralyzing circumstance.  J can hear the word “NO” without feeling like it’s a personal affront.  Sure, we still are insistent, but (come to think of it) I was pretty annoying as a teenager; please, no, please, no, you never let me do anything, no, you’re so unfair, no, come on, no, this one time, no…the difference is the monomaniacal use of the one word: noodles, no, noodles, no…knock, knock, knock, PENNY!  Knock, knock, knock, PENNY!  Knock, knock, knock, PENNY!

On the Fifth Day of Christmas, I understand that what he wants and what I bought are not matching, but this understanding came from observation of calm reactions rather than from watching The Creature from the Black Lagoon making its way into town, oozing slime on to everything.  No, this time it was as simple as seeing enthusiasm pop and deflate when an irregular-shaped package was handed to him rather than a neat rectangle.

From store to store J trudged, signing and saying Merry Christmas to all.  I noticed it’s hard for people to keep a serious demeanor when they meet J’s display of Christmas spirit.  I think he’s the only person taller than five feet that I’ve seen joyously skipping to put a dollar into the red Salvation Army pail.  Yes, he is that happy…yes, he feels it now that his parents have realized what he wants and they’ve said “oh, yeah!  Kung Fu Panda 2…how did I not think of that?!”  So, up in his room, he sits watching his movie with the sound turned down while Rickie Lee Jones sings The Real End to him…

Tonight we’ll all be home…older brother doesn’t work and thus a Lego will be the present of choice.  J will be happy because, well, that means that for one solid hour he will have his brother helping put together a lighthouse that actually lights up.  And to J that’s like having Johnny Depp hanging out with him…or Superman…or Santa Claus himself.

On the Fifth Day of Christmas we are back in the groove…



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