Thursday, July 12, 2012

Sing a Song

This week being Eric's last week of home-ness (well, except for two and a half days a the band hall to prepare) we're doing all the things we decided we were going to get done before the summer ended. You know, all the not as fun stuff.

As a result, I'm wearing more of the perfect color of blue than the walls in the boys' room.  The sad part is that I started this project with J in about August or September of last year.  Yes, my sweet sons' room stayed half "bolt of blue lightning" and half this icky green.  My school contemporaries will remember those two colors that always stayed sharp in your Jem school box... "yellow green" and "green yellow."  Way to go, Crayola.  Those two color names were truly a triumph of creative marketing!  Moving on...

The walls in most of the house, when we bought it, were this color.  It was tastefully done, and actually quite beautiful for someone who likes yellowgreenyellow or whatever.  But me?  I'm a blue girl like my Mama before me.  Last summer the kitchen got a couple of coats of "morning rain" and the bathroom got that and "Neptune blue", Mae's room is "fresh pink lemonade" and the perfect lavender... I can't remember the name.

When time came to pick the boys' color, I asked them.  Richie said "Thomas" and Ryan kinda agreed.  Actually, Ryan didn't seem to care one way or the other, or just didn't quite understand the concept of picking a color for one's room.  Abstract is NOT his forte.

Armed with one of the kids' Thomas engines, we made our way to the paint store.  After matching and matching, we kinda decided we liked this blue.  Not completely Thomas, but nice and cool and just flat awesome.

Before we finally began finishing the project, determined to get this done before I was without help with the kids to paint, we decided we'd start just after putting the kids down for a nap in the afternoon.  Ryan's content to hang out and play a little iPad, and once he was done he'd be welcome in the room, or one of us would go hang with him.  But little Richie couldn't sleep, so he toddled in to see us.  He was so precious!

Richie: "Are you tearing up my room?"

Me: "No, baby, I'm finally finishing painting."

Richie: "Oooooh!  Okay!   (long pause)  Are you painting my room blue?"

He was so cute and curious, politely questioning why I was moving all his furniture, and offering to help.  Eventually he lost interest, and in came Ryan shortly after.

He stood close enough to my paintbrush that I could hear him breathe, stuck out his neck, drew his hands up behind his ears, and hand-flapped!  He was stimming on the color changing with my strokes! He hung out in the room for a long time, trying to help off and on.  He didn't ask like Richie.  Instead, he walked up to me, saying "Give it to Ryan" in this calm, "It's okay, I'm a doctor" kind of voice.

After a few times of gently telling him no, I couldn't stand it.  I handed him the brush and, putting my hand over his, I helped him paint a little.  He'd tickle the wall (like my Mom taught me with watercolors as a little girl) only if my hand insisted.  Left to his own, he'd push as hard as he could, scratching at the wall with the metal part that holds the bristles.  He stopped pretty quick, but remained with me for a lot of the afternoon.

At the end of the evening, after the paint supplies were drying on the counter and the kids were ready for bed, they stood around the kitchen table at my laptop.  Richie had been dying to check out the Thomas website, and there were videos of the cheesy songs from the movies.  We stood here, Richie and I singing, Maelynn doing her best to keep up, and Ryan dancing around the kitchen, hand-flapping with all his might.  Every now and then, he'd come stare at me and smile when I was singing... that warm, happy, innocent, clean, calm, down-to-your-toes grin he has when he's himself.

It's delicious, that innocence.  If I had to have a favorite part of having a child with autism (or who has autism, or an autistic child... the difference to me between these monikers is unclear) that would be it.  The fact that my seven year old loves Thomas and Elmo.  He loves to listen to Sesame Street music and even sings along with the Spanish in "Sing"... even when Prairie Dawn doesn't.  I've also noticed and enjoyed more lately how precious he looks when he's stimming.  He has the cutest stim ever!  And I have backup... I don't think there's a Baylor psych student who's worked with him that wouldn't agree!

It's also something I hope my Richie and Maelynn cherish.  I pray that there isn't a day when they roll their eyes at their brother's complete disregard for age-appropriateness.  I pray that somehow the stares from the playground and the worries of what things look like will not squelch them in their creativity, being themselves, or their love for their brother.  I pray that they'll be able to enjoy what they enjoy, no matter what everyone else is doing.  I pray that on the day someone walks up to them and tells them how stupid that looks, sounds, or whatever that they'll be kind... but that they'll remember their brother, and that we are all fearfully and wonderfully made, and keep going.  I pray that if the day comes when their brother does something embarrassing when we're together, that they'll exhibit grace and mercy.  If they don't, I pray they'll learn humility and the importance of and the ability to say "I'm sorry."  I pray that all my kids grow up grounded in their true identity and where it comes from, not in the next fad, money, or things.

And that's all why, when that classic Sesame Street song comes on in the van, I'll likely well up again when I hear them singing from the back seats.  When I hear Ryan come up with the Spanish in between verses.  Because you can only truly sing out loud and sing out strong in joy if your life is centered on Christ... and I do hope they can sing for joy all their lives!

Sing... Sing a song
Sing out loud
Sing out strong
Sing of good things, not bad
Sing of happy, not sad

Sing... Sing a song
Make it simple to last your whole life long
Don't worry that it's not good enough
For anyone else to hear

Just sing... Sing a song

Words and music by Joe Raposo
Performed by the Carpenters and several folks on Sesame Street

Thanks be to God for the song in all of us!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...