My soul is wired for relationships. If we are friends now, you are most likely going to be on my “friends” list until the day we both die. If we ever were friends, you still hold a special place in my heart. It’s who I am.
Thanks to autism, I have come to realize that not every relationship, not every friendship can last forever. That doesn’t mean I don’t value the time we shared, I just realize that I can’t put myself into as many relationships as I used to and sadly, not everyone, even those I once considered friends, not everyone can handle the stark reality of autism. And believe it or not, I’m okay with that. I get it. But because of that, I also treasure the relationships I do have all the more.
My grandpa LOVED his grandkids. Every last one of us. He rejoiced over the births of our children and did his best to teach them all the intricacies of being ornery, but still respectful. He wept when we lost one of our generation, and clung to the youngest of the next with all his might. He knew no distinction between in-laws and blood relatives, we were just all his kids, and I absolutely loved that about him. He was one of the good guys to say the least.
Today would have been his 99th birthday. I can hear him laughing as think about that and sing him a little diddy. I miss that laugh. I miss the way he would feel my kids’ faces to memorize how they looked because glaucoma had stolen his eyesight before our Ben was born. I miss the way he’d snuggle up with my kids and tell them story after story after story, and how they’d stay as long as he’d keep talking. Grandpa went to be with the Lord five and a half years ago. We lost a precious grandpa, but Heaven gained quite the soul. When I hear it thunder, I have to laugh thinking he’s enjoying a good polka with Grandma and my brother and one of my dearest childhood friends. I like to think they’re all together, laughing with my friend’s grandparents, who also grew up with my grandparents. What a celebration they are having today for Grandpa’s birthday!
Thank you, autism, for helping me to realize just how precious relationships are.