Family Favorites

Weeks before Thanksgiving, I asked my family how they wanted to celebrate.  Seemed like all of my nearby family and friends were going elsewhere and my far-away family wasn’t coming this year.  It was going to be us 5.  My vote: go out to eat.  Well, I was outvoted.  I was amazed to hear that it just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving for my family without a turkey dinner at home.  Sigh.

So, the day before the big day, I began to cook.  I made the pumpkin pie filling, chopped the veggies for the stuffing, brined the turkey, made the dough for the biscuits.  Then, as we were running errands, my middle guy asked me who was coming for Thanksgiving dinner.  When I replied that no one was coming, he asked where we were going.  I told him we were staying home and having the turkey dinner that everyone wanted.

Mayhem ensued.  My  middle guy and my girl were very adamant that they never said they wanted to stay home.  (What?)

Then my middle guy surprised me.  He asked me why we couldn’t call Uncle E. and Uncle R. and see if they could come over.

I explained to him that his uncles, aunts, and cousins had other plans.  He said, “Well, maybe we could just go to Uncle R’s house.” Again, I explained they had other plans.

My son has never seemed to care one way or another about holiday guests and family.  I just chalked it up to his autism.  I was impressed that he wanted to connect with others.

But then my son really shocked me.  He said, “Uncle R. likes me the most.”  That was odd. To my knowledge, my son has never had a real conversation with Uncle R.  I asked him how he knew that Uncle R. liked him the most.

“Because, every time Uncle R. sees me, he says, “Hi, Philip!'”

I learned something today. Whether or not it seems like it, my son notices who takes time to acknowledge him, who seems happy to see him, and cares about his family. This gives me hope: hope that he will have meaningful relationships outside of his nuclear family and hope that he might learn to reciprocate.

And it breaks my heart a little, because it means he also most likely notices when he is ignored, which happens a lot, because on the outside, it seems like he’s in his own world or content just to flap his hands and say “Eeeee” over and over.  It also means that I’ve been discounting him just a little.  How much else has he noticed that I just assumed he didn’t?

I am so thankful that my boy cares and loves.  Now to foster those family relationships…

Happy Thankgiving!

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