Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Our life in 34 seconds (with video!)

Last week Richard made this little video of Jonathan playing with his ball in the driveway while I was out for a walk.  It's pretty cute.

Here's a complete transcript of their conversation:

Jonathan: Where's Jonathan?  Dad...?  Dad... ?

Dad: Yeah?

J: How are you?

D: Good, Jon-Jon. How are you?

J: Jonathan walk.

D: Mom's gone for a walk.

J: Dad's coming walk.

D: Mom's gone for a walk.

J: Mommy ... Mommy ... Mommy walk.  Mommy coming walk.

D: Yeah, Mom's gone for a walk, hon.

J: Mommy coming walk.

D: Yes, sir.

J: Mommy's coming.

D: Mom's coming, hon, yeah.

J: Dad?

D: Yes?

This video captures Jonathan's true self perfectly.  He's so comfortable with a ball, flipping it up through the net several times and catching it effortlessly.

In case you missed it: he's also very repetitive.

This is just one example of what our life is like most of the time. Jonathan needs constant verbal feedback and reassurance about what's happening and what's coming next. A single "Mom's gone for a walk" doesn't end the questioning; he just keeps asking. And this one is a pretty happy example in comparison to some. Sometimes his questions and repetitions are angry and whiny and seemingly meaningless. Sometimes even when we give him the exact answer he seems to be seeking, he screams.

It can get slightly unbearable at times.

It's tempting to package this into an object lesson, something like 

"He's persistent, and God wants us to be persistent when we pray to Him."

"At least he's turning to the source of comfort -- his parents -- just like we should do with God."

But those just sound fake. 

I guess I'm just sharing this because it's a 34-second slice of our family's day-to-day experience. It's the truth of what we hear and see every day. It's sweet and annoying, delightful and mind-numbing, all at once.

It's real life.


  1. I so appreciate this glimpse of your day-to-day reality of life with Jonathan, the joy and the vexation of it, with love holding it all together. You have given us such a gift in sharing this with us - thanks so much, Jeannie.

    1. You're welcome, Franceen. You know what I mean, right, about the temptation to package it up into something quotable. But it just is what it is. Thanks for commenting.

  2. Absolutely! One of the problems with packaging things up into comforting aphorisms is exactly what you say, it distances us from reality. As one of my theology profs used to put it (I believe he was quoting Luther), it "gives the lie to life." And that makes those who for one reason or another can't do that anymore, feel left out in the cold.

  3. Oh, bless him. I can relate. Our young man is perhaps more verbal, but we too have the same conversations over and over and over, for what is sometimes several hours if he's anxious or I can't distract him. Patience is indeed a virtue and I thank God for the opportunity to learn it ;-) But the best thing about kids with autism is their innocence. For all the difficulties, that innocence is a treasure.

    1. I know what you mean about patience, Sandy. I think I have a ways to go in that department. I agree with you about the innocence part. He takes so much joy in the simple things like birds in the sky, laundry on the clothesline, potatoes for supper -- and there's no resentment, grudges, or malice.

  4. Thanks for sharing a slice of your life and it's challenges. Glad you get to go out for a walk! I'm sure you need it. I guess real life doesn't always fit into a neat little package of "lessons we learn from God." Then sometimes when we do that, we think, "Um, I learned this ALREADY!" No easy neat packages. :-) Just real life.


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