May 17, 2012
Mother’s Day Bounty
It’s Mother’s Day, or what I like to call around here “a sacred 24-hour-period of Mommy-thanking”, which as usual, will commence before dawn. Justin is particularly happy and affectionate this morning which is a wonderful thing, because I realized the night before that I’ve finally succumbed to the virus Zach just had, one which knocked him out for a week.
While I’m a bit disappointed to be out of it on this day of all days, the situation’s not tragic. My own mother is away, so there’s no meal to prepare later in the day. My kids will still give me their beautiful homemade cards and we’ll do something together as a family, because even though it’s technically “my day”, Justin still needs to get out of the house. Most importantly, the nasty bug that has claimed my body waited until after I’d concluded my shopping spree last night with my sister-in-law and niece, permitting me to have my girl-time with them AND acquire the perfect dress for my brother’s wedding.
I still have my priorities straight.
So, today will commence as most Sundays do, although my husband is graciously taking over the early morning shift because I can’t quite stop coughing, and just can’t seem to leave those warm covers. He’ll make my son breakfast and entertain him for two hours until my second child is conscious, at which point I’ll rally and get myself downstairs to help him with the controlled chaos.
Those two hours will rank up there as one of the best gifts I’ll get all day.
We won’t attempt a Mother’s Day brunch out, in part because Zach is still on the gluten-free casein-free diet which seriously restricts what he can eat, and in part because Justin will want to eat and get out of there in about half an hour, which kind of defeats the concept of a meal that’s supposed to be leisurely. We won’t be ordering in either, because I can neither smell nor taste anything at the moment, so meals prepared by someone other than me aren’t really on my agenda. No, except for my annoying cough, today will end up proceeding pretty much as any Sunday does around here, lazy, reasonably quiet, with lots of together time.
That is, except for one glorious, exceptional, “make-my-mother’s-day” moment.
I’ve written many times on this blog how important it is to me and my husband that our boys have a true connection, that each one respects the other, and hopefully finds true joy in their relationship as well. Justin and Zach do have a number of moments together, but I admit that many of them are contrived by me in an effort to foster that bond. There are games of tag around the house, and books from Justin’s early childhood that still bring a huge grin to his face, and a smile to his younger sibling’s too. Zach often tells us what Justin is “saying”, which is generally amusing, as his “communication” is frequently to Zach’s benefit.
Zach is not a kid to willingly miss any opportunity that benefits his own life.
But the key thing here is that while they do connect, almost all of their interaction is initiated by Zach, or by his parents. It’s not that Justin isn’t interested in his younger sibling, or doesn’t love him. Zach has surprised Justin at school several times for various functions, and each time his older brother’s face has absolutely radiated joy, and his excitement at Zach’s presence was palpable. They love each other in their own fashion, but to date, my firstborn has never started the proverbial “brother ball” rolling.
But today, he did. And he even gave up something he loves to do it.
I didn’t get to witness it, will have to live vicariously through my husband’s report of what transpired. I was washing breakfast dishes when in the middle of my task I heard a resounding “That was SO nice Justin, great job!”, and I abandoned my chores to rush upstairs. I took in a typical tableau- Zach sitting in the computer chair, Justin hovering happily next to him with eyes glued to the screen, and my spouse on a bench nearby monitoring the situation.
Jeff turned to me with a huge smile on his face, and said “Without any prompting, our eldest just got out of the chair, grabbed Zach’s hands, plopped him into his seat, and gave him a chance at this game.” I smiled in return and asked him how Zach responded, and he said “he looked at Justin and said, ‘you’re a great big brother’, then sort of pushed him out of the way so he could have a better look at the computer screen.”
That’s my boy.
It sounds like such a little thing, but inwardly I’m thrilled, because I hope it won’t be a one-time event, a glitch in their usual brother-to-brother relationship. I know that sometimes Zach longs for more from Justin. My youngest asks lots of questions about what his elder sibling will be like when he grows up (ones I wish I could answer more precisely), and every few months tells me he’s built a machine that will make Justin talk and play with him.
I’d take out several mortgages just to acquire that bit of technology.
I don’t know if a moment of this magnitude will re-occur for them. So often little pieces of “typical” surface on the turbulent waters of our family’s autism, then they recede, never to be seen again. I’m not sure Zach will once more be the recipient of such a generous offer, a true act of generosity on the part of his older brother. I can wish for it though, and I will.
But no matter what, it happened once. It was their moment, but now it’s mine too. It made my Mother’s Day.
And I sincerely hope this past Sunday, that all of you moms out there had your amazing maternal moment too.