It’s my favorite time of the year. Summer. Daylight hours are long. The weather is hot. Early in the evening, I open the windows and can hear the sounds of birds and crickets chirping. To me, summer is peaceful. A soft breeze at dusk and whatever has happened during the day, begins to fade into the song of nature’s evening creatures.
As it happens, I don’t get a lot of peaceful quiet in my house. The odd part about that is that I really hadn’t noticed how little I do get until this weekend. Someone repeatedly brought it to my attention.
No it was not the little boy who I blog about daily who reminded me. It was the little boy’s sister. Yes, Sissy was home for Father’s Day.
It was a quick day trip. Sissy rented a car and drove from the City to our peaceful, country home. Sissy does not own a car. In the City, she uses the various modes of public transportation. It is really far too expensive to garage a vehicle in the big City and much easier to get around by bus and by Bay Area Regional Transit (BART).
Sissy is one of the sweetest, kindest girls I have ever known. She rarely says anything bad about anyone, is kind to all people and animals and loves the whole family despite all our dysfunctional eccentricities. I think it’s much easier for her to be this way because she lives far enough away and maintains her independence.
She does not get much time off as she works as a stylist in an upscale “salon” in the City very long hours, most days of the week. I swear she is Snow White’s double and would probably have those little cartoon birds landing on her index finger, deer romping around her in circles, if we lived in a Roger Rabbit world. But I digress.
I only had about 12 hours notice that Sissy was driving up to our house for Father’s Day. I was a little nervous because Tootles has not always been on his best behavior for his big sister. I had to work without my net (ABA) preparing little Tootles for his Sissy’s visit.
When Tootles was about 1.5 years old, Sissy lost a roommate at her place in the City and came home to live with us for a couple months. While she was home, she hung out with us at night but the little guy was extremely loud, sensitive, and moody. He did not want his Sissy to hang out with us or even to talk to us. This lasted, basically, the whole couple of months she stayed with us.
Later, she came back to visit and I picked her up from the train station. When she got in the car, Tootles was mad. He did not want her in the car, did not want her sitting up front with mama and was basically a stinker.
Sissy was kind through it all even though we had no diagnosis of autism and did not discuss it at all when he was young. She asked no questions. She only offered hugs. She loves her littlest brother! When I asked her what she thinks of him, she said she finds him incredibly perceptive and thinks he is the smartest kid she’s ever known! (Not that she’s biased or anything!)
On this last visit, I was worried for nothing. Tootles’ attitude had undergone some mystical transformation, quite a pleasant surprise. He was excited to see his sister! In fact, he was so excited that he began to bring out all his toys. Before she could even set her things down, he was asking to take turns with her and saying, “Show Sissy that!” about a few hundred of his toys. He was even so kind as to actually share time hitting baseballs with her.
In a back room of our house, is a treadmill with some weights that Daddy pretends to use on occasion. While home, Sissy decided she’d take a run on the treadmill. Now, mind you, when Daddy goes in there, Tootles shows no interest. When Sissy went it? It was fascinating.
Tootles followed her in. He watched her run. She kept telling him to stay back so he would not get hurt. He became worried that Sissy might be hurt. He kept coming back to check on her every couple of minutes. I told him to leave her alone. He kept going back to check on her.
He still did not want a forward facing hug but this was really an amazingly different child. You could feel the love for his Sissy. He wanted to be with her and please her at every turn.
While indulging her little brother showing her his upteenth toy, Sissy made the simplest of observations. “Wow, these toys are loud,” she said in her soft-spoken manner. Wait a minute. Let me listen. Yes, they are loud. Funny how I hadn’t noticed that before.
Sissy said, “Let’s play with something else, Tootles.” He looked a bit dejected. Sissy, the Snow White of the family, did not push it. She actually felt bad. After that, the little charmer had his Sissy holding one end of his Power Ranger Air Popper gun while he pulled the trigger.
Personally, I am always so excited that he would play with something that could keep him busy without my participation, that I sacrifice quiet and peaceful for loud and independent. It had not seemed loud in my mind until Sissy uttered that simple sentence.
I will keep on giving up the sound of the birds and crickets on those sweet, summer nights for the crank on those Hyper Wheels any time, any place. Silly me. I guess I find that peace and quiet is just plain overrated.