Sunday, December 6, 2009

it's not easy

Here's how a person can be sad despite seeing a bunch of happy baby animals. First, take an autistic child to a live nativity program. Second, wait forever in the cookies and cocoa prelude to your tour through old Bethlehem. Third, have the first scene of the program be about old people having a baby. And finally, realize your kid has no clue at all what is going on.

Tonight was a reminder to me about Martin's continued difficulty with new things, not because he's stubborn, but because he's totally confused. The list of crazy things we subjected him to tonight goes on and on: going to church on Sunday night, taking his friend Henry to church, people dressed in bathrobes with towels on their heads, and rules about when you could go in a room and when you should leave. Basically, we tried to get him to do a new thing in a place where he has long-established and pleasurable routines. It's like your spouse looking over at you and saying, "I'm not your partner anymore, but I will repair your refrigerator or sell you insurance." Thanks, but no thanks.

Even more than Martin's troubles, I was saddened by my interactions with Martin's lovely friend, Henry. Henry did nothing but be a normal 6-year-old. He told me about his grandpa's boat, he had questions about leprosy, he commented on the absurdity of people putting big engines in small cars. He answered my question about which was his favorite part of the live nativity. He hypothesized on how the characters put together their costumes. In short, I could have a conversation with him.

When I asked Martin about his favorite part, he said something about train tracks. When Henry tried to point out some Christmas lights to him, Martin could hardly take his directions about which way to look. My kid has such a serious disability. This knowledge crashes in every once in a while, breaking apart all my efforts to make our life something like normal.

Even though it was a hard night for him, Martin seemed to enjoy at least one moment. After our tour was finished, we walked back to visit the baby animals once more. As we headed toward our car, Martin called out in a soft voice, "Good night, animals. Stay in your barn tonight. And I'll see you tomorrow."

1 comment:

  1. I like this one, Jen. Merry Christmas to you guys. -Rebecca