Monday, January 3, 2011

A Tale of Two Christmas Gifts

Caleb and Connor pouring over a book.

Cooper enjoys a play date with his friend, Annika.

I know Christmas has come and gone, but I didn't get to share about two Christmas gifts: one I received and the other I didn't.

The gift I received:

When I mention I have a son with aspergers, quite frequently I hear, "Have you seen Parenthood? You really should see Parenthood! You know they have a character with aspergers." Like so many other things, I just simply never got around to it.

I suppose my friend, Gina, became tired of reminding me and decided to take matters into her own hands. So, I received the first season of Parenthood in a box from Amazon with a note: Love, Gina.

Just a few days ago, I popped the Parenthood DVD in the player and snuggled back on the couch. I guess I was curious. I wondered how Hollywood would portray aspergers. Would the TV character resemble the face I see at home? Would I be able to relate? Would the show be encouraging or a real downer? I started watching the first episode, that turned into viewing the second episode, then...well, you know where I'm going.

I sat there astonished. The asperger character was extremely similar to my son (a high-functioning asperger boy about the same age). The show tackled similar issues we've faced over the last several months, and depicted many of the challenges we've endured.

As I was watching the episodes, tears formed in my eyes. I'm so grateful for a friend like Gina that listens to my challenges and tries to make them better in whatever we she can. Thanks Gina!

The gift I didn't receive:

Several weeks before Christmas, Caleb and I were discussing Christmas presents. I looked at him, and announced what I desperately wanted from him for Christmas.

"Caleb, the best Christmas present you could give us is to say: 'I love you.'"

No response.

In the weeks before Christmas, I held out hope that my comments had sunk into his skull. I imagined Christmas morning with us all hovered under the tree when Caleb loudly declares, "Mom and Dad, I love you!" We'd cry, embrace, and marvel at the Christmas miracle.

Alas, Christmas came and went without those three little words passing from his lips. Several times I said to him, "I love you." Caleb either failed to respond or made some sort of perfunctory remark like, "Thanks" or "I know."

My coveted gift never did arrive, but I'm working on him for next year.

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