Car-oling, True Gifts, Some Bragging, and Thoughts on Hope

by Tim on November 28, 2008

I have one absolute law about Christmas – absolutely no Christmas music until the day after Thanksgiving. I believe in doing one holiday at a time, doing that holiday well, and then moving on to the next one.

But once Thanksgiving is over, Christmas music plays several hours a day at our house. We’re totally into the holidays. If you celebrate other traditions this time of year, we’d be into yours too if we could learn the music.

We finally rolled out of the house today a little before noon to meet up for lunch with the family. On the way home, we were listening to Andy Williams and Bing Crosby, and J-Man seemed to be enjoying the Christmas carols from the back seat. Then he started sounding like he was trying to sing along a little. It was hysterical.

“I’m dreaming of a white…”

“Nee-nee!”

Yeah, we don’t know either, but he was serious about it and we busted out laughing.

“Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…”

“Guh-ul-eh-ssssss!” (J-Man-ese for “Let it snow” we supposed.)

“I’ll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams…”

(Pause, pause, pause, pause.) “Sssssss-kuh-ssssssss” which we are pretty sure is “Christmas” given he said this a few times.

[Speech tidbit - it's not unusual for him when attempting to say two syllables to switch them. It's quite possible he meant to say "kuh-sssss" for Christmas, but he may very well have switched the two and then corrected himself. ]

Anyway, so cute! Having him talk and sing and read and everything new he’s been doing lately is one of the greatest gifts we could ever ask for. I see all the stuff in stores and online and think to myself, “what junk this is.” Well, that’s true regardless, but when you’re given the kinds of treasures he’s been giving us, it’s even more obvious.

He’s talking more, learning so much, improving in every area, and now we know our newest gift will be a boy. It feels really good to be us these days.

I have to brag some more on the J-Man today. Our lunch took forever, but he sat patiently in his chair almost the whole time. He ate some applesauce and a couple of chicken nuggets – about as much as he tends to eat in crowded restaurants – he colored the children’s menu almost solid green, we talked to him some about this and that, he sat quietly with my arm around him, and smiled at family around the table. The waitress was so impressed with him that she offered to bring him some free ice cream, which unfortunately he would never touch at this point. But the thoughtfulness of her kind act wasn’t lost on anyone. I love how he inspires kindness in people.

You could tell he wanted to get down and run around, but he showed amazing impulse control and patience. After we finished eating, as soon as I said, “Do you want Daddy to hold?” he about leaped out of his seat, held his arms up, and said, “Dah-deh!” How wonderful is my kid! I felt bad that he had to sit there that long, but what a superstar he was!

Yeah I say all this to brag on him, but I do tell you this for another reason. I’ve talked to several parents lately of recently-diagnosed children who are feeling the kind of overwhelming, frantic despair and uncertainty that we remember so well from the diagnosis days, and which rear their heads in our own lives from time to time still.

It has taken a lot of hard work to come as far as we have. We have had to hope in things not yet seen – in things that seemed out of reach – and believe that we could somehow make it to where we are now. But he is doing things now that even a couple of months ago seemed like a far-off dream. With still many challenges to face, we have no idea when or how he will overcome them, but it’s much easier now to believe he will eventually, if not soon.

And one thing we’ve learned – for the times we may have underestimated his abilities, his determination, and his courage, he has made it very clear that he plans to prove us wrong every time.

In our community of parents – both nearby and online – I think an important role for each of us is to hope for others during the times they find it hard or impossible to hope for themselves and their children. You may feel like you don’t know the way out of the place you’re in right now, but others of us do and we can help you find it.

Right now, we feel pretty upbeat around our house, but I know we’ll all find in time that we will need others to hold the same hope for us when we feel we cannot for ourselves.

This is a season of waiting and hoping and expectation. So hang in there everybody, do the best you can, and wait patiently but expectantly for the next amazing gift your child will give you.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Casdok November 29, 2008 at 1:06 pm

A very touching post – lovely to hear of your bragging!

Karen Szold November 29, 2008 at 6:47 pm

Tim, I am Laura’s sister. I work with kids with autism. I love reading your post about your young man. If there is anything that I may help you with let me know.
Karen

Tim December 1, 2008 at 3:28 pm

Casdok,

Thanks! Love your blog, by the way. If any of you all want to read a positive, educational, affirming, kick-butt mama blog, go read her at Mother of Shrek. Special bonus for me – I get to learn more about what challenges parents face in the UK, of which I admit I’m very ignorant.

Tim December 1, 2008 at 3:55 pm

Karen,

Thanks for stopping by and writing. I do have a couple of questions that I’m collecting insights on from the experts. I’ll e-mail you reasonably soon. I’m still trying to go through my inbox from the holiday. :-)

Thanks again!

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