Thursday, August 11, 2011

Isn't it amazing...

..what your children's children can teach you..

and I don't just mean how to program your DVR..or do Facebook..or order shoes on-line

But about how to live.


As some of you know, Connor has special needs - he has Asperger Syndrome - an autism spectrum disorder that is characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction, along with restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests...

And while I am not trying to be overly-gushy here, I feel he has special talents and reasons for being here with us all.

He has focus. Compete and total focus on things that he's passionate about.  Photography.  NASCAR. Animals. I can truthfully say he's an expert on these subjects.

His eyes light up when he speaks about them.  His whole demeanor changes. He becomes more self-assured..confident..happy.

I admire how he can let is wishes be known..with respect & dignity..

"Sounds good" or "No thanks" or "I'm good"..

He will not do what he doesn't want to do..and has no qualms about saying .."I'm good" when he doesn't want to participate in something  "I" think he'd enjoy.

How refreshing. .how honest.  No doing what "they" want you to do or what they think you "should " want to do.

And how he holds you to your intentions and schedules.."today the Zoo" .."Wednesday the Aquarium"

He looks at the pups and at Sushi {the resident fish} and he sees them... really sees them. He's kind.  And he smiles. And he is utterly gentle and kind. to them. And they respond to him with puppy-fishy-kisses.Like they..know..and they understand. And they see him....

And to people.  Even when I can see the fear or the anxiety,  or the stress of a situation casting it's shadow over him, he responds in thoughtful  kindness.

Take yesterday.  We went to the anticipated Planet Earth Aquarium, and although I had expected more..Connor seemed delighted at the photo ops of the strange and unusual sea life on display.

But so were tonzz of loud, high pitched, unruly little kids with seemingly uncaring or unknowing  parents, pushing and shoving and stepping in front of him as he carefully set up his camera shot.

And I know one cannot control such an environment, and the little kids and their parents have also paid to get into the exhibit..

I could see, physically, that he was getting nervous.  Agitated and maybe a little frustrated.  But he said nothing. No heavy sighs or eye-rolling. No anger.

He quietly continued to try to get the shots..he moved. He backed up, stepped out of the way.

One mother saw this and said "Oh, I'm sorry.." and he quietly and graciously in a small voice said "that's OK" and he went to another part of the room..only again to be followed by the "screaming masses"..

This continued the whole time.  I'm not sure if he got one good shot. But never, ever once complained. Or whined. Or showed anger..

I worry about him being homesick..this is the first time away... and with his Mom and my son being divorced, knows us but really doesn't "know" us..

I worry that he's not speaking up for what he DOES want..Cookies? Pop?  Steak?  Vegetables? ...yeeeah..probably not.

Will he let us help him with his laundry? Does he even need help? Or reminders??

I have to get used to him wanting to be in his room..alone with his thoughts..instead of being the center of attention and all big and loud like we are...

I want to hug him..but that's uncomfortable for some with AS, so I hold back..

He's a sweet little boy in a growing teenager's body with the mind of a professor..

I tell him I love him and good-night-sweet-dreams and he says "I love you too" and my heart swells

And I have to learn to live each day like he does..simply..with no bad intentions, with no hidden agendas..with no obligation...

All the while being a sweet, gentle soul. Able to communicate with little or no words. Kind. Peaceful. Loving.

What a wonderful world it would be...


PS - Connor has displayed an interest in his DNA and genealogy {!} so I am having one of our DNA consultants do a consultation on his own DNA! He'll learn so much about his ancient ancestors and his YDNA (paternal) line.  Thanks to Anna for doing Wednesday..Connor- it's on the schedule! :-)


Holly said...

By far, the best, sweetest, most honest post I've read today. Thanks for sharing Conner with us. Let him be a reminder to all of us of how we should live in this crazy, crowded, unruly world.

just call me jo said...

How could anyone be homesick if he/she is with you? I love you. Connor is a model for us all (me especially). He's a real gentleman. And he has a dandy granma.

Laurie said...

What a beautiful tribute to Connor, Colleen, you're doing such an awesome gramma job. Blessings to both of you!

Emmy said...

Connor sounds like a wonderful person! What a beautiful post :)

I hope you both get to have some good bonding time during his stay.

Diane said...

Thank you so much for visiting my blog and for the very sweet comment. I came over to yours and I'm so glad I did, loved reading about Connor and also about the budding photogs in your family. Diane

Breezy said...

Conner sounds like a delightful young man. We could all learn from him.
He is lucky to have you in his life!


lifeinredshoes said...

Beautifully said, and lovingly felt. You know what? Sometimes I think WE have the disability, not them.

camp and cottage living said...

Conner definitely could teach us all a lesson or two in patience and kindness. He is a real gift to you, as you are to him. I'm glad you are both getting the opportunity to get to know each other better.

Pearl said...

I love this post Colleen, there is a special place for these kids like Conner here. I have known special needs kids and they make you stop and smell the rose's. How lucky you are to know him. Hugs, Pearl

T's Daily Treasures said...

How wonderful that you are able to spend this time with Connor and are able to truly appreciate all that he is. No doubt he is enjoying his time with you two. My friend's son has AS and boy, when he wants to tell you about a new subject he is interested in, he becomes a walking encyclopedia on the matter. Continue to enjoy your time and create memories. Best wishes, Tammy

Pen Pen said...

What a wonderful post! I recently did some reading on AS to teach myself some things about it. I wasn't familiar with it at all. Conner sounds like a wonderful young man. :o)

Anonymous said...

No, I'm probably forgetful or I just didn't know this, about Connor. But he certainly sounds like a very wonderful young man.

I can't imagine regular teens, being so understanding of how no one could control the photography session, in the open-for-all area. I wouldn't be. I'd be huffing and puffing and showing by body-language, just how fed-up I was with the running, screaming brats. So there.

and it must be oh-so-hard not to hug him a lot! My heart goes out to you, not being able to do so. For his sake of course.

You guys are super Grandparents! So there!

Vee said...

This one got me right where it counts. Thank you.

Garden of Egan said...

I love this post!
I have some questions about AS. If you wouldn't mind emailing me.

I love how you describe him. I think you are doing perfect.

Your chicken coop is my dream coop by the way.


I am in tears reading your post. The world would definitely be a better place if we were more like your darling boy. All the little thugs that recently wrecked lives in London could really learn something from him. You are a wonderful Grandma to a wonderful boy. xx

Artistic Accents by Darla said...

Wow Colleen, this is an awesome post. Thanks so much for sharing Connor with us!

Debby@Just Breathe said...

He sounds amazing, sweet and happy.
Looks like he is loving his camera. I bet he loves seeing the pictures. Thank you for sharing him with me.

Vicki aka Jake said...

Late commenting on anything this week...but so glad I found this one. You sure have a way with words here, and Connor, and love...Now I need to swallow the lump in my throat and go see your other posts. Thanks for this....