“If I could snap my fingers and be non autistic, I would not. Autism is part of what I am.” Dr. Temple Grandin
Since I started blogging I’ve started following other blogs for inspiration. One of the blogs I follow is written by Laurie Stone. Her blog post about the day the chocolate ran out struck a chord with me, admittedly because of a Facebook memory that had popped up recently. A tragedy, at least in my household, had fallen upon us. It was, [cue the dramatic music here]
THE DAY THE KETCHUP RAN OUT.
My son was born in 1983 a normal, healthy 8+ pound boy. By the time he turned 2 he was not speaking so we did what every parent would do-we took him to the doctor to find out why. The Hubs was in the Air Force at the time and we were living in Italy, so the doctor was not just down the street-it was a 3-hour one-way trip on a bus on a Friday. Still, it needed to be done so we made the appointment, got on the bus, and off we went. That appointment lead to another, which lead to another, and yet another. These trips ultimately lead to a diagnosis which, at the time, I had no idea would shape my world for my remaining days.
Autism means different things to different people-they don’t call it a spectrum for nothing! In his younger days, until he started speaking, life with my Sonny was a difficult one. The therapists taught us how to communicate using American Sign Language, which we used in conjunction with spoken language until we finally learned how to communicate with each other. The difference was amazing, and a whole lot less frustrating for all of us. He went through school, graduated, went through a job training program, and he’s working and thriving today. He still lives at home and will for the foreseeable future. I cannot imagine life around here without him, autism and all.
Which brings me to The Day The Ketchup Ran Out. One of our rituals (people with autism LOVE rituals) is a Saturday trip to the grocery store. I make the menu, clip the coupons, make the list, and off we go. I count on Sonny to keep tabs on certain things in the kitchen and one of them is our ketchup supply. He eats practically EVERYTHING with ketchup. Rice, vegetables, mashed potatoes, you name it. Even if something is fixed with a sauce or a gravy, it still gets the ketchup treatment. It’s weird and gross as heck to me, but that’s how he rolls so who am I to judge? Then one day about 3 years ago, this happened…
We had just been to the grocery store and he didn’t say anything, so I had no reason to think we were out of ketchup. It was when we were sitting down to dinner that evening that he finally said something to me. The look on his face was nothing short of pitiful. He would have to sit down and eat a meal with NO KETCHUP. In an autistic person’s world, this is a HUGE deal. I don’t remember what I fixed that night, I only know that he had to eat it “dry” or go hungry. He ate it and survived the night. You can be sure by that time 24 hours later the house was fully stocked with ketchup! This was 3 years ago, and it hasn’t happened since. I very much doubt that it will ever happen again!
Life with a guy with special needs living in my house is a huge challenge sometimes, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I wouldn’t have my Sonny any other way. He’s perfect just the way he is.
To learn more about autism, please click here. It’s not always as scary as it sounds.
Be well and God Bless-until we meet again…