The Po-Pos.

Before all this nasty weather, my son and I took a visit to his Grandma and Grandpa’s house.  He calls them his Po-pos. No, not the cops.  My mom first started calling herself and my dad by that name shortly after my son was born.  It has some meaning to my mom in Korean, apparently.  (At least that was her story!)

My parents are in their late 70s.  With my mom’s health problems, the last thing I want them to do is worry about me or my son.  They also have no understanding of autism.  These factors led to my decision not to tell them that their grandson has autism.  They don’t need the stress or worry.

Hangin' with Grandpa Po-Po

Before my mom got sick, my dad would make off-hand remarks, from time to time, that I need to be more stern with my son.  He told me I needed to quit spoiling him and give him a spanking once in a while.  I blew off my dad’s comments more than once before my son received his diagnosis.  After the diagnosis, I bit my tongue several more times when he made those remarks.

He doesn’t make them anymore.  I think that’s primarily because he is so preoccupied with my mom and her health. My mom has been home from the hospital for over a month now and is slowly adjusting to the differences in her life.  She rarely talks.  There are a lot of difficulties associated with speech, swallowing, eating and drinking since she came home.  The brutality of the acute renal failure and sepsis wrecked havoc with her delicate system.  I cab see the advancement of her Parkinson’s symptoms.  She has lost over 35 pounds.

Pre-hospital with Grandma Po-Po

Visits with her grandson fill my mom with happiness.  They always did.  She loves to watch him play, hear his voice, touch his soft skin and receive his hugs and kisses.

For my son, he never objects to visiting his grandparents.  He’s content to sit in the living room and amuse himself with a single toy while I visit.  He doesn’t like to be hugged and kissed but he lets my mom do it anyway, begrudgingly.  He keeps his distance, for the most part, from my dad.

On this last visit, it was Mother’s Day, and a beautiful, warm day.  I know how my mom loves a garden and her backyard is in full floral bloom.  So, I suggested we wheel her outside to sit at the patio table.  It was warm with a cool breeze.  Roses everywhere you turned.  When she was in the hospital, struggling to stay alive, I repeatedly told her that when she got home, we would make sure to plant a vegetable garden for her.  There were days that this kept her going.

The little guy enjoys his time among the flowers at the Po-po’s house.

Ever since I was my son’s age, my mom would plant a beautiful vegetable garden every year.  When I was that young, I remember walking through the garden with her picking zucchini, cucumber, tomatoes and rhubarb.  I used to pick green tomatoes off the vine and eat them.  The tomato plants were so large when I was little that it felt like I was walking in a tomato forest.  I was excited to help in the garden as a child and I have my mom to thank for giving me a lifetime love of vegetable gardening.

Out back in their yard, the prior owners of their house had put in a putting green.  My dad decided to pull it out and make that the vegetable garden promise a reality.  We talked about the vegetables she wanted to grow.  We looked at and smelled the sweet fragrance of the orange blossoms on her tree, admired the peach and lemon trees‘ growth, and took in the beauty of the many colored roses around the yard and over the arched trellis.

My son ran through the yard, never with us but nearby.  He was befriending the small decorative boulder near the roses.  Repeatedly, he would ask, “What’s that?” goading us to say the word boulder or rock to his delight.  He then asked, “What is it drinking?”  No one asked why he was making such an odd inquiry.  It was attributed to age. When he told us all that the boulder was drinking apple juice, it was only me that knew what was up.  My parents thought nothing of it.

The sun was getting to be a little much for my mom so my dad started to put up the patio umbrella.  At our own house, we have a patio table and chairs but no umbrella because the furniture sits under an upstairs deck.  My parents‘ umbrella operated by crank.  Guess who came running like a magnet to his grandpa?  But, of course!  The little guy could not resist the lure of the umbrella crank.

 First, he watched my dad.  No more than 30 seconds into the cranking, he was in my dad’s face, saying, “Do you want to do it?”  My dad did not even notice my son’s misuse of pronouns.  He knew what my son meant and helped him use the crank.  Then, we sat under the table while my son raised and lowered the umbrella three times.  I stopped him finally.  My dad thought it was funny.  It bonded the little guy with the big guy.  It made me and my mom smile.

And no one said the word autism.  No one worried.  Everyone laughed and loved. It was a good day.


About solodialogue

I'm a lawyer and the mom of a 6 year old boy with autism. I work part time and spend the rest driving here and there and everywhere for my son's various therapies. Instead of trying cases, I now play Pac-man and watch SpongeBob. I wear old sweaters and jeans and always, always flat shoes to run after my son. Yeah, it's different but I wouldn't change it for anything. The love of my child is the most powerful, beautiful and rewarding aspect of my life.
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12 Responses to The Po-Pos.

  1. C... says:

    Your little man is so adorable. My son used to pull his shirt up a lot like that when he was little and he seems to avoid male family members because they are more stern than the women. He loves my sister and niece but really does not like my brother, my dad and his other uncle.

  2. What a beautiful visit. It really makes me jealous for some warmer weather so Little Miss and I could be out in our own garden (yesterday, it was raining — again! and 46 degrees 😛 )

    We did get to spend time with our “po-pos” yesterday but it was an indoor play. Oh, but for a nice spring breeze!

  3. Amanda says:

    It’s such an emotional time, I’m glad you were able to enjoy each other without the additional stress.

  4. Flannery says:

    He sure is cute, no wonder they don’t notice the quirks, they’re too busy enjoying him!

    Looks like a fabulous garden, and I’m so glad your mom is home to enjoy it. What a nice Mother’s Day!

  5. So good to see them enjoying the company of one another, it will be a tonic for your mother. Gardens are a sensory delight, looking forward to having one again in a couple of months!

  6. Grace says:

    Your parents’ back yard is beautiful. I’m glad you had a nice day together.

    The umbrella thing reminded me of Jessica’s post where Tootles asked “Do you want some ice cream?” That kiddo of yours has a way of getting what he wants, doesn’t he? Little charmer.

  7. danidawn says:

    That is so awesome that they all bonded so well. They accepted him for the loving child he is & without the expectations, they might have. I know how important that is and how hard for parents when family members do not understand & do not accept our children for who they are.
    About a month ago, we got a visit from my in-laws & Patty really bonded for the first time with her (mamaw/grandma). I think she finally truly accepted her for the sweet, intelligent, loving child she is. She did not put the expectation of where in development she should be. They just had fun and that I think is just Awesome and made me happy.

  8. Lizbeth says:

    Awwww, just the way it should be.

  9. Brian says:

    It’s great when that happens, my parents got to see the same side of our son for the first time last month. Nice.

  10. eof737 says:

    I’ sorry to read about the progression of your mom’s condition… sending her hugs and healing light. I enjoyed the bit about your dad and son and the way they finally got to bond. This is such a sweet piece and goes to show that people do shift their thinking… 🙂

  11. Teresa says:

    My parents love my children. They are always excited to hear about my daughter’s accomplishments and have a great relationship with her. They are especially fond of Matthew. And he loves them back. Grandpa kids Matthew and Matthew teases Grandpa. It’s such a joy to see. It’s wonderful that your parents are close and that you make time for each other.

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