My son is 9 years old, going to be 10 very soon. We have a lot of history together within this short amount of time. Most of it has been good, but sometimes it has been a struggle. We have had our own "cultural" battles, language barriers, and role differences. Throughout it all, we have found things, within ourselves, we would've never knew existed. Patience has graced me tenfold, meanwhile; Chris has learned what it means to be a family. Bringing another child into this world, Hope (his sister/my daughter), has truly defined the meaning of Yin Yang.
Family means something different for everyone. The only thing all might agree on: a family is a social unit. Generally, it's a consanguinity, a bloodline of sorts together within one dwelling. Although, some may say blood doesn't matter, it's whoever is there for you. I'd like to say family is learned, but speaking from experience, "Leave It To Beaver", my parents were not. I can't even say the "Adams Family" summed it up. Probably more like, "Modern Family" on alcohol. Lot's of it. On my father's side, since I'm a product of divorce doesn't have a show to explain the complexities of those family dynamics. He was a provider, and liked by many, didn't drink, smoke, do drugs, but loved his women. Three divorces and four marriages probably say it all. How I understood what a functional, healthy family unit was to be, is through the grace of God and watching many, "Leave It To Beaver's".
When Chris, my special son, entered this world, no word/phrase/show/movie could ever come close to exemplifying it. Fast forward to when my daughter was born, Chris didn't see this as a "delight" or "blessing". Imagine a child, who has had your full attention now having it diverted in another direction. Any child would show signs of angst. Being as he has Autism, the issue of having a beautiful bundle of joy, as his sibling, was more like someone just killed his cat. Add to which, as Hope got older, she showed her beautiful soul. Funny, sweet, loving, listened attentively, and followed rules to a T. Everyone complimenting on her beauty, cuteness, and overall pleasing demeanor. Obviously, her behavior was polar opposite of Chris's.
One would think this would make Chris feel eliminated. Maybe at first it might have. Working with Chris, allowed him to become very boastful, looking people in the eye, and even giving hugs. Hope, would shy away when strangers said, "Hi". She clung to me as if the world was falling out from our feet. As they have grown together, Hope has opened up to others. Ironically, she does this only when her brother is around. In the same token, Chris has learned to be patient, less loud at times, and become a helper. I don't know when it began, but I do know how it is now. He went from complaining, "That baby is eating my toys. Her slobber is gross and stinks", to "Hope, come play with me". What began as contrary forces, became complimentary.
Having Chris didn't just help Hope. Having Hope didn't just aid Chris. Chris has actually become an interconnected interdependent force within my life. We have given rise to each other, as we interrelate to one another. Not only has my patience been extended ten-fold, but it the simplest things, that most could probably do with their eyes closed; I have a problem with.
For example: I walk into a grocery store with the children. An hour later, I am leaving out the same door I came in. One problemo. I have no idea where I've parked the car. Maybe it's the fact that I just spent 250.00 dollars. Walked up and down isles with children whining, complaining, and asking for half the store. Maybe it's the unloading, waiting for cashier to scan, and then loading them back into the cart. Or how I wished I could find the designer for the registers and totally erase that floor plan. C'mon, putting candy, pop, and silly toys right there, where you are waiting; knowing the children have minutes to scan the candy and have their mouth water! Ugh! By the time I am leaving, I have no clue where I parked. Sure as I'm typing this, Chris, my special son, remembers exactly where my car is. Even though he was partially taking my brain away from focusing, he didn't lose focus at all when it mattered.
It has been these little things, in which I noticed but Chris just simply understood. Almost an unwritten, unspoken, and accepted ideal of family. As we pulled up today, from running to the store, Chris said, "We have a good family, right?!" He said it as a question, but very confidently. Almost as if he was reminding me. Reminding all of us. Russel M. Nelson once said, "A Saint is tolerant and is attentive to the pleadings of other human beings, not only spoken messages but to unspoken messages as well." I'm not saying Chris is a Saint, but darn near close to it. Yin Yang is also relevant. Leave It To Beaver, has nothing on us!