Friday, April 10, 2015

Playing with Joshua

Well, first of all I would like you to know that we are now living at the height of luxury.

That's right, we had the hole in our kitchen ceiling fixed.  You know it's been there too long once you stop noticing it.  We had a leak in the kids's bathroom in the fall that we had fixed before Thanksgiving I know because my parents came and used that bathroom.  We had originally planned for Joe to patch the hole as he's quite handy.  There is not much he and a youtube video can't fix.  But no one was looking forward to that project while the kids were around so we decided to have it done professionally in January.  And yet here we are in April.  We honestly kept forgetting it was there.  And then where did we put the number for the guy?  And oh, Joe's out of town that week.  Did the guy call us back?  Anyway, today was the day.  It's a beauty.

Secondly, I just have to tell you all that Joshua has continued to be a delight this week.  I'm not sure if it's the warm(ish) weather, being back in school, or the processed snacks we have reluctantly given in to (especially Cheez-Its), but that boy has been so sweet and loving and interactive.  In fact, this morning he was almost too cute to send to school.  Almost.

But what I really want to talk about today is the joy we get from watching other people play with our boy. Of course we love watching all of our kids play with family and friends, but Joshua takes a little more work.  Until someone mentioned it, I had no idea that some of our friends felt unsure around Joshua.  As in they didn't know what to do.  My reply to that is to treat Joshua like any other kid.  We talk to him like our other two, even though he doesn't talk back.  We tickle him,  give high fives, wrestle, push cars around, run and jump, and he loves it all.  I can't say every kid on the spectrum desires the interaction Joshua does (though he can't show it), but I am fairly certain that every parent with a special child wants their kid to be noticed and engaged with.  It really blesses us to see people go the extra mile.  Really, really blesses us.  I CANNOT OVERSTATE THIS.

And I will tell you that once you put in the work Joshua will acknowledge it.  We are thankful to belong to a small church.  Or at least small compared to Texas mega church standards.  It's a safe place for Joshua because many people know him and appreciate him for who he is.  We have a new associate pastor whom we adore, and the other morning I couldn't find Joe to pass Joshua off when I needed to report for duty with the children's ministry.  Seth was standing nearby and I asked him to walk Joshua to Joe.  He grabbed his hand and as they were walking off.  Seth looked down at Joshua and said,"Hey buddy!  Do you know what my name is?" and I just started giggling because I imagined Seth wondering why this 4 year old was giving him the silent treatment.  For some reason, this continues to tickle me to no end.  Probably because I knew Seth is full of love and grace for Joshua, and has since gotten to know all of us better.

But I digress. The reason I brought up our church to begin with is to tell you about a friend of ours from church that worked on Joshua for months and was sweetly rewarded. We see Ed (or as I like to refer to him, Elder Beach) frequently not only at church but also at small group.  Ed picked up on the fact that Joshua was drawn to him and always paid him lots of special attention. He held him, talked to him, and threw him around.  One night, in the middle of their play, Joshua stopped and kissed him right on the mouth.  We couldn't believe it! For a kid who doesn't make eye contact very often, this is a big deal. Ed hadn't asked for it, and Joshua had only recently started initiating kissing and just with mom and dad. He was showing his affection and thankfulness to Ed. To this day Ed is very proud of this, as he should be. Off the top of my head Matt and Mary are the only other non-family members to have received this honor.  Matt months ago because he's Matt, and Mary last week after months of toil.

Because we don't live near them, the grandparents have to work extra hard.  They come and go as frequently as possible, but Joshua needs persistence.  He is finally starting to show that he remembers them and one day even kissed the phone when he heard Ami D's (Joe's mom) voice on the other end.  Also, on Easter Joshua walked over to a photo of my Dad, Poppy, and started saying "Poppy, Poppy!"  Again, we couldn't believe it.

We are so, so thankful to those of you that invest in Joshua's life.  He (and we) are better for it.  And to everyone I encourage you to be intentional with any special child in your life.  It will bless them, it will bless their parents, it will bless YOU.

See you Monday.

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