Sunday, May 8, 2011

#103 - Another Year Older

"Another day older and deeper in debt. St. Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go. I owe my soul to the company store." - Tennessee Ernie Ford, "Sixteen Tons"

I'm not deeper in debt, not yet, although I have yet to see the latest repair bill on our truck. And while I am another day older, I'm actually thinking about another member of our family.

Our son's cake - red velvet with chocolate
chips, sprinkles, and Peepsters on it.
Our son celebrated his 15th birthday Friday. Or, as I like to sometimes put it, he's 15, going on five, going on 40.

As an example: Friday, we went out to dinner to celebrate our son's birthday. Then we went to Toys 'R Us to let him use a gift card he had received. He gravitated immediately to the Pokemon section. While older kids may play with Pokemon, all of the children pictured on the packages looked to be seven or eight, which made me think perhaps our son had outgrown them. (He ended up buying something else.) This could be considered to be part of the five-year old phase (give or take a couple of years).

A few days ago, our son was sitting in our family room, looking at a catalog. He was gazing intently at a page filled with women in bathing suits. A week or two earlier, he was apparently doing a Google search on nudist camps. (By the way, there is one within an hour's drive of Boise we can take him to if he's serious.) I would term these behaviors as relatively typical teenage actions in the age of the internet.

On other occasions, he's asked serious questions of us, such as whether we think he'll ever get married. It's a prospect that both scares me and gives me hope for his future. I haven't always handled being a husband that well, so I have no idea how someone who is autistic will do. But I am certainly not one to predict.

This wide range of behaviors and actions is, I think, fairly typical of someone considered to be a high-functioning autistic. One minute, our son is talking about becoming a film director one day; the next, he's making yet another creature out of a piece of paper.

We don't know what his future holds. We recently completely our estate planning process, so we have hopefully put things in place to help care for him when we are no longer around to do so. Perhaps before then we'll have a better idea of what he will be able to do for himself.

There are days when I think our son will fully be able to live independently. There are other days when I think he will need someone to do everything for him. Our son can be unpredictable at times. That unpredictability has taught us that, where he is concerned, anything is possible and perhaps probable.

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