Up to His Old Tricks

As we were getting ready to leave home, I heard Jacob in the master bedroom. I knew he was probably getting into something he shouldn’t have, so I headed in there. Sure enough, he had been through my purse, with the contents scattered on my desk, the chair, and the floor. I gathered everything I saw, and told Jacob it was time to go.

He headed to the door all the while probably thinking, ‘she doesn’t realize her keys are not in that purse.’ I’m searching the purse, checking every pocket, turning it upside down and giving it a good shake in hopes of hearing those keys rattle. Nothing. Yes—missing. I did a swift glance around the room to no avail. Thankfully, Mike’s keys were nearby so I grabbed those and headed out. Seemed Jacob was up to his old tricks again.

I ran a few errands and came home knowing the first item on my to-do list was to find those keys.

Follow along with me and feel my amusement turn to frustration!

  • My work satchel was by my desk. I started with it by pulling everything out to be sure he hadn’t dropped them there. It was a sensible place because it was under my purse when Jacob got all nosey. Not there.
  • Next, my desk. Miscellaneous papers were haphazardly stacked on either side of my laptop. I quickly straighten those making sure keys weren’t hidden in between. No such luck. Opened the three desk drawers. Nothing. Looked under the desk chair and pulled out the desk to check behind it. Nothing.
  • Searched the dresser, chest of drawers, and nightstands making quick work of shuffling through stuff that should have already been put away and opening each drawer. I got down on my knees and looked under the furniture. The high and low game revealed nothing but dust. (And why I didn’t document my search with photos!)
  • Went into the bathroom and checked around the sinks. Also looking for drawers that weren’t closed shut and into cabinets. Nothing but frustration building.
  • I considered going through our closets but that thought was overwhelming so decided to come back to those later, if not successful.
  • I literally crawled around on the floor and shone a light to look under the love seat. Nothing. This is getting ridiculous.

I was 99.9% sure that my keys were in our bedroom but goodness that rascal made speedy work of making them hard to find. He has hidden my keys multiple times and unfortunately always in a different spot.

  • Back on my knees and raised up the bed skirt.

AH HAAAAAA! That rascal had tossed my keys under our bed. Yes, they were in the last place I looked!! I might need to put a finder fob on my key ring. Not that I misplace them but someone does it for me!!

When I picked him up, I told him I’d found my keys. I don’t think he was even a little impressed. I’m telling ya, he is a smart cookie! That day he was definitely up to his old tricks, once again.

A Better Answer

As I dropped Jacob off at his day program, a couple of the guys were out front talking to the center manager. The conversation revolved around when they’d be going to a certain restaurant. Of course, I didn’t know the ‘whole story’ but I could easily see that one of the guys was frustrated. He would ask a question and she would answer him. He repeated the same question and she answered again. And again. Exasperated, I heard him say loudly, ‘is there someone who could give me a better answer?’

I drove away laughing our loud and couldn’t wait to tell Mike. We find ourselves using that phrase around home. That could be the story of my life. And probably yours.

‘Your son may never walk or talk.’ “Is there someone who could give me a better answer?”

‘His collarbone was broken at school.’ “Is there someone who could give me a better answer?”

‘You need surgery.’ “Is there someone who could give me a better answer?”

‘This is borderline.’ “Is there someone who could give me a better answer?”

‘Your request has been denied.’ “Is there someone who could give me a better answer?”

‘She is bleeding internally.’ “Is there someone who could give me a better answer?”

‘That is a seasonal item.’ “Is there someone who could give me a better answer?”

‘The doctor called. It is cancer.’ “Is there someone who could give me a better answer?”

If you have ever been around Jacob, when he wants you to talk to him, he reaches for your mouth. In a sweet, gentle way. Sometimes he might want you to keep singing. ‘Don’t stop.’ Sometimes, he may want you to tell him about a certain picture in a book or magazine.

And, sometimes it may be his way of asking you to repeat what you said. His way of asking, ‘what did you just say?’ He will look me straight in my eyes and I can read the question in his. He wants to know the plan, what are we about to do, where are we going, is he staying home that day, etc. Many mornings when he gets up, that is part of his routine. Questioning what the day holds.

Last week he did just that and I answered his imploring eyes, “we are going to SV.” He turned to walk away and quickly came back and reached for my mouth, “we are going to SV.” Headed out of the room and came back asking, ‘what did you just say?’, with his eyes. ‘Did I hear you right?’ “We are going to SV. But, today is Friday so tomorrow you can stay home.” Mike was watching this exchange and said, “is there someone who could give me a better answer?”

Again, I laughed out loud because that had to be EXACTLY what Jacob was thinking!

This post has been bouncing around in my mind for months. The lyrics to the song Andrae Crouch released in 2003 have been on continuous loop as well. “Is there someone who could give me a better answer?” “Why, yes.”

Jesus Is The Answer For The World Today

Above Him There’s No Other Jesus Is The Way

Jesus Is The Answer For The World Today

Above Him There’s No Other Jesus Is The Way

Jesus Is The Answer For The World Today

Above Him There’s No Other Jesus Is The Way

Jesus Is The Answer For The World Today

Above Him There’s No Other Jesus Is The Way

If You Have Some Questions In The Corners Of Your Mind

And Traces Of Discouragement And Peace You Cannot Find

Reflections Of The Old Past, They Seem To Face You Everyday

There’s One Thing I Know For Sure That Jesus Is The Way

Trick or Treat

I have mixed emotions about Halloween. When it comes to that day on the calendar only one thing interests Jacob. CANDY. As a little guy, I’d dress him up and we’d go to a few houses in our neighborhood or maybe hop in the car and go to see what yummy treats (think – chocolate) grandparents might have to drop in his orange jack-o-lantern bucket.

But, how do you explain the concept of trick or treating? Dress up in something fun or weird or scary, carry a bag or bucket, knock on a door, and scream ‘trick or treat’. Seems simple enough. In a twisted sort of way. Jacob either didn’t get it or got it and was much too smart to play along. I’m going with the latter.

We enjoyed a few Fall Festivals when he was young and that was probably more fun for him than the door-to-door aspect. Either way, he got more than his share of candy and didn’t miss out. Unfortunately, I could only find a few pictures of my little cutie.

Now, we pretty much ignore the day. I know. We are such scrooges. We don’t turn on the outside lights. We even try to make it look like we aren’t home. The doorbell ringing constantly, along with the dogs barking nonstop, is too much.

One Halloween, years ago, I dropped him off at his day program. A note had been sent home earlier in the week indicating that everyone could dress up, if they’d like, and there would be trick or treating in the building. Well, I knew Jacob wasn’t interested in wearing anything out of the ordinary. So he went as himself. Best way to go, right? Goodness, some days I can barely get him to wear clothing of his choosing.

It was a rainy, dreary day that set a depressing tone. I dropped him off at the center to greetings of witches at the door and painted faces lurking. And drove away knowing he’d get more than enough candy.

A few hours later as I was on my way to meet a friend for lunch, I got a call, ‘Mrs. Pigford, Jacob is having a really tough day. It might be good if you could come get him.’ I phoned my friend to cancel lunch and headed toward the center. When I got there, he was visibly upset. I could see that he was stressed as he had been biting his hands. I appreciated the call which gave me an opportunity to, hopefully, relieve him of whatever caused his ill mood.

I realized two things that day. First, Jacob is bothered by costumes. Maybe not from a distance but up close he is not having it. And, secondly, Jacob cannot be trusted when candy is being given out freely. He assumes anything in reach is fair game and that he should have it all. There is no reasoning with him that everyone gets a Hershey bar. He doesn’t understand ‘share what you have with others’. Never has and probably never will.

One other thing that I considered afterwards. Barometric pressure. I honestly think it was not what caused his trouble then, but I do believe the weather wasn’t in his favor and added to his anxiety.

Don’t get me wrong. I so wish Jacob could participate in the fun and games. I thoroughly enjoy seeing little ones dressed up as unicorns and bumblebees and super heroes and princesses. Such wonderful memories of those years with our other son.

It’s just one of those days, each fall, that didn’t and doesn’t makes sense to Jacob. Who needs Halloween when he has a stash of all his favorite candy in a drawer at the ready?

And, I’m perfectly okay hanging out with my guy, at home, on October 31st. Letting him sleep late, if he wants, and choose his favorite candy. After breakfast, of course!

Trick or Treat. Sweets can’t be beat. Give me something good to eat! If you don’t, just beware, I’ll show you my underwear.

Let There be Light

When our boys were in Elementary School there was an emphasis on saving energy. Teaching kids to be mindful about turning lights off, the concept of going green, recycling, etc. Hopefully, that is still part of school curriculum today.

It’s fun to have a Watt Watcher at home making sure they, and their family members, are not wasteful. However, Jacob never had a good grasp of that concept. He wants lights on! Whether he is in the room or not. And if turning a light on and off repeatedly is wasting energy, then he is king of that. To go from his bedroom to the garage, he may turn every light switch, as he passes, off and on several times as he is leaving home.

Sometimes when I am waiting for my fella to come out at pick up time in the afternoons, I know when Jacob enters the hallway because I see the hall lights going off and on. He would be good at checking all lights in a building to make sure every bulb is in working order.

And, he is particular about which lamps he wants on around the house as well. Sometimes he will come get us or a sitter just to turn a lamp in his room on or off. He has trouble with the fine motor required on most lamps. We even have a guard on a few wall switches around our home to keep him from ‘flicking’ a switch constantly. Imagine the garbage disposal being turned on every time he passed by.

Another fun fact while we are talking about lights; he has Christmas lights in his bedroom all year long. No shame here—he loves it. Thankfully blinking lights don’t have an adverse effect on him like they can with some people.

Jacob has never seemed afraid of the dark. He doesn’t have a night light in his bedroom but occasionally he will turn on the bathroom light before falling asleep. I can’t help but think about how the Bible talks about Christ being the light. He lights the way for us both naturally and supernaturally.

“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

John 8:12

Jacob lights his way physically by using the power of electricity. He’d choose light over dark every time.

He is the opposite of a Watt Watcher. What is that? A Watt Waster?

Chill Pill

It was a hard morning. Not that it started out difficult. Jacob was groggy and slow to get moving but he finally got up without extra coercing. Something was a little off though. He was spinning more than usual. Getting him dressed made me dizzy. In the end, all articles of clothing, socks, and shoes remained on so that was a win.

He wouldn’t eat or drink anything before leaving home which isn’t unusual. He didn’t appear to be upset at all. Just nothing interested him. But as we started toward the garage, he became agitated. I still don’t know what set him off. Had I known what the next 30 minutes were going to entail, I could have given him a chill pill. Hindsight is 20/20, right? I have a couple of options in our arsenal that could help calm him but I didn’t see this coming.

For some reason he started chasing our two dogs. He never does that. Neither of them ever bother him but they were underfoot in the hall as we were headed to the garage (which is typically where they are every time we are leaving home). It seemed like he was out to get them and frankly they were frightened by his behavior. Both had their tails tucked. The male is usually pretty cool with any behavior Jacob exhibits. He’ll wait for me at Jacob’s bedroom door even if he is bouncing off the walls. Our female is more ‘sensitive’. Let’s just say, if Jacob is acting out, she goes to the other side of the house to be clear of him. I think this particular day it was a matter of them being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Apparently, he was going to take his agitation out on anyone or anything in his way. They probably could have used a chill pill, too.

As a rule, I have low blood pressure but I could feel it rising! Once I got G & L separated from him, he took it out on me. Grabbing at my clothes and my arms, swatting at me, both of our elbows flying, pictures being knocked off the wall. It. Was. Crazy. Town.

Finally, I got my arms around him in a bear hug and into the garage. Where, you guessed it, he didn’t want to get in the van. Refused. Circled it fussing and pulling on me. At one point, I got in the driver’s seat and cranked it, trying to ignore him. Hoping he’d settle down. Eventually he got in but then would not let me buckle him up. Had me by the wrist, at arm’s length, where fastening the seat belt was impossible. Twice I got back in the driver’s seat to give both of us time to calm down before trying again. Once I got him buckled, I was out of breath and in tears.

I backed out of the garage but just sat in our driveway bewildered at how quickly he was out of control and how helpless I felt. It was one of those moments where I prayed he would forget whatever made him mad to start with. And, that once he was away from home and away from me, all would be well in his world.

I drove the few minutes to his day program in silence. Too angry, too upset, and way too frustrated to even talk to him. On good mornings, he is buckled up without the added safety clasp that keeps him from unbuckling. This wasn’t a good morning so I had made sure to use it. Now that we were at the center and it was time to unbuckle and get out, he wouldn’t let me release the safety device. A wrestling match ensued where after some time, I accomplished what I set out to do. Once unbuckled, I quickly got back in the driver’s seat to give him space to exit. After a while, he tired of sitting in the hot van, got out, opened the driver’s door, and grabbed me. He wasn’t giving up his bad mood easily. Realizing I was not getting out nor giving up my, now, bad mood either, he headed toward the building.

The entrance looked safe enough. No one was standing in the doorway. (LINK – Clear a Path: https://problemfreephilosophy.blog/2019/09/12/clear-a-path/.) There were two fellas sitting on the bench outside chatting and enjoying the breeze. He walks past them many mornings without giving them a thought or glance. This wasn’t one of those mornings. He got to the door only to turn around and grab both of them. A staff person on the inside and I saw it at the same time and both hurried to rescue them from Jacob’s grasp. It was upsetting enough that they weren’t doing anything to bother Jacob. But, on top of that, they are legally blind so Jacob’s touch rattled them both terribly. The staff member remained calm assuring the young men that Jacob didn’t mean to scare them and he was going inside. Once they were free of his grip, Jacob started to run away but I grabbed him and literally wrangled him into the building. The staff member took over and escorted him down the hallway toward the kitchen.

I got in the van shaking. Now I needed a chill pill. How did the morning go so wrong? There was nothing to indicate he was sick. Would I get a call to come pick up my disruptive son? His behavior was scary to say the least.

Instead of running the planned errands, I went home to let tears flow. To hug our sweet Golden Retrievers so they’d know all was going to be okay. To pray the day would get better. I didn’t see how it could get much worse. To weigh the pros and cons of letting him stay home and sleep in the next day or take a chance. A chance that there would be a repeat performance.

There are moments when I feel, I know, that what I need most is to rest in peace. To embrace God’s spirit. The spirit that pours over me to sooth my soul was my chill pill that moment. Did you know chill pills come in many forms? Not to be flippant but seek the Holy Spirit when nothing is going right. A few other ‘pills’ that help me – rest, prayer, tears, reaching out to a friend, and one of my favorites, a mocha frappuccino!

I am so very thankful for new mornings. Thankful that the next morning I determined to try again. And he was like a different person. He was fairly cooperative getting dressed and out the door. He tried to keep me from buckling him up but that didn’t last long. Once at his drop off point, he got out within a few minutes and walked in without incident.

Clap your hands all you people, shout unto God with a voice of PRAISE!!!

Serve One Another

That’s a tough one. And, in the name of transparency, one I’ve been convicted of lately. Many years ago, I realized that God gave me the heart of a servant. Finding joy and purpose in helping others is a result of following that call. I also know God gave me Jacob. Meaning, being his mom and serving him would be a life-long task. God made me exactly the way I am to be able to best take care of the gift He gave me 40 years ago.

“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.”

Galatians 5:13 NIV

Something I’ve started doing, that has brought me a great deal of pleasure, is hosting tea parties. As I prepare for a party and serve my guests, I have the second part of Galatians 5:13 on my mind. Serve one another humbly in love. My heart is full as I demonstrate that simple act. The first part of the verse talks about being free. Listen closely, being free in Christ doesn’t mean focusing on myself (indulge the flesh) but being free to show Christ to others, by serving. It doesn’t cost me anything to serve in love.

So, here is the ‘confession is good for the soul’ section: Seems like every time I get settled in to read a book, or watch a movie, or watercolor, or …., Jacob realizes I am ‘free’ to serve him. I don’t know how he does it. Waits until I am done in the kitchen. Or sitting with my feet propped up. And he will do whatever it takes to get my attention. Sometimes he will lean in to get close to my face and give me his sweetest, melt his mom, smile. Truly I can hardly say no to that! Or, take an opposite approach. Become demanding and pull me toward his room or the kitchen refusing to let go. Unfortunately, I let those little things get the best of me. Some days I have no patience left to spread. Can’t I just focus on what I want right now? Just a few minutes?

Don’t think so. No, here he comes handing me an empty cup. I let that simple act frustrate me way too much. He’s thirsty and needs my help. What kind of mother am I? One that hears Satan say, ‘you’ve been serving him for 40 years!’ And I’ll think, that’s right. That’s the truth! Not once has he poured himself something to drink.

Then he brings his DVD player wanting to watch another movie. Or the huge case of DVDs. The word wait is not in his vocabulary. I’ll carefully explain to him that I’ve just helped him select another one and to go watch it. He’ll study me seeming to listen intently, then turn and walk away as if he is going to do just that. Mike and I may look at each other and give a thumbs up. He’s actually going to obey. Only to return less than 5 minutes later as if it has been hours. I fully believe he tried to wait. Again, I let his need aggravate me. Bless his heart, why shouldn’t he get to watch another movie? He changes his mind more than anyone I know. But, I change mine, too. What was I doing that was more important? Serving myself, that’s what!

Quickly God called me out on my attitude. It needed adjusting. Was I serving in love? NO. Jacob was gifted to me to grow my faith, my patience, my endurance, and so much more. To stretch me beyond my capabilities so I quit trying to do it on my own. I cannot do it on my own. And, guess what? I don’t have to. God knows it isn’t easy but His arms are open wide to lighten my load.

There’s a fine line between serving Jacob versus taking away his ability to do it himself. “Lord, teach me to know the difference.”

WORDS

This week marks a year since I started blogging. Facebook has been my platform for sharing Jacob stories for a number of years. While those posts were met with support and understanding, I often wondered if there might be a different audience who was walking the same sort of journey. Who had a similar story. Maybe outside of my circle of friends.

Several times my Mom has said, “I wish you’d write a book. Surely, there are others that could be helped by your experiences.” A book isn’t in the works in the foreseeable future. But, if you know of a family, a teacher, a neighbor, or a friend who knows someone, who knows someone, who might take away something positive from Problem Free Philosophy, I hope you’ll share. Thank you for making this first year as a blogger, therapy I didn’t know I needed.

On to today’s post:

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.

Raise your hand if you have ever said that silly children’s rhyme. I know I did. Probably to a kid in my neighborhood who hurled an insult my way. However, we all know that statement is simply not true.

Words can and sometimes do hurt. Immediately and indefinitely. Words cannot be taken back. Words can haunt us for a long long time. Proverbs 12:18 says, thoughtless speech is like the stabs of a sword. Ouch! If you’ve been cut by words you know the wound is deep. And, the sting is oh so very real.

On the flip side though, words can also help and have healing power. Ever be in a hard situation and get a message from a friend? It is amazing what a few genuine words, spoken from the heart, can do to turn our perspective around. Psalms 16:24 says, Kind words are like honey. Sweet to the soul and healthy for the body. Yes! Yes, they are!

Recently, I’ve spent time focusing on those healing words. Those words about my son that renew my energy. Bring peace, comfort, and joy. Some of these words, put together into phrases, will not mean anything to you. And, no doubt, I haven’t listed everything wonderful that has blessed my heart. But these words, from friends, have been good medicine when I needed it most. You may see something here that you’ve said to me. Know your words make my heart smile from the inside out.

“I like that Jacob knows what he wants!”

“I enjoyed staying with Jacob today.”

“Jacob cracks me up.”

“I like hanging out with Jacob.”

“He is so smart.”

“I loved getting to see Jacob.”

“Think of Jacob as a gift.”

“I am Jacob’s friend.”

“I love watching Jacob twirl and dance.”

“Jacob is welcome here.”

“Will Jacob give me a rain check so I can visit him another time?”

“I’ll watch your son if you want to fish.”

“I wouldn’t stay with Jacob if those things bothered me.”

“Tell Jacob we missed him.”

“I will be glad to give Jacob a haircut.”

“Jacob had a great day.”

“I love that Jacob!”

“Jacob has the most beautiful eyes.”

“Thank you for sharing Jacob.”

“I added Jacob to the prayer list.”

“Jacob can ride with me.”

“Jacob is listening whether you know it or not.”

“I’ve known of Jacob all these years but I’m finally getting to know Jacob.”

“Jacob just tickles me.”

“Jacob smiled at me!”

“We want to come see Jacob.”

“Good job Jacob!”

“People with autism are my heart.”

“Jacob pays attention even when he seems uninterested.”

“I saw Jacob smile today!”

“Jacob is so handsome!”

“Jacob let me sit by him.”

“Do you need me to stay with Jacob?”

‘Bring Jacob!”

“Can I help?”

“Jacob held my hands.”

“Jacob was glad to see me and I was glad to see him!”

See what I mean? Affirming words go a long, long way in lifting someone’s spirit. In changing their day. You cannot put a price on the value of words. They don’t have to be ‘profound’ to have a profound impact! It’s the little things words that mean the most.

I’ll close with two little words that can have mega power, thank you.

Chauffeur, Yes Sir

I’ve referenced, more than once, that Jacob was a front seat rider until it became dangerous. When I see parents drop off their loved ones at his day program and they arrived riding in the front seat, can’t deny it makes me a little envious. They will probably never be behind the wheel and drive, but, they sure can enjoy being as close as they’ll get. And besides, when there are two adults in the car, the ‘normal’ arrangement is for both to be in the front.

That is, unless, you are royalty. Or rich and famous. And have a chauffeur to drive you around. I don’t have a clue what that would be like but I’ve learned a thing or two from watching T.V. They open the door for you. Make sure you are comfortable before he or she takes their spot in the driver’s seat. Want to take the scenic route? No problem – ‘your wish is my command’ could be the chauffeur’s motto. They proceed with caution carrying precious passengers. If the occupants need something, they get their driver’s attention, as the riders are, of course, in charge. Come to think of it, seems Jacob has been rich and famous for years now because we have been doing all those things as we are his personal drivers!

But there is more to this tale of driving Jacob. Not only can he not be a front seat passenger, his arms or so long, he can make your life miserable if he is sitting on either seat behind. Picture driving along and all of a sudden, the neck of your shirt is being yanked toward the back. Startling to say the least.

So what’s a family to do? Cue Mini Van commercial. Those vehicles were created and marketed for large families. And, I am so glad someone made them popular because they have been life savers for us. Our vehicles have third row seating specifically to meet our needs but the van is just easier for Jacob. And in turn, easier for us. There may be only two of us in our van but the passenger with me sits on the third row. See what I mean? We are definitely his chauffeurs!

This has been the case for years. A few times Jacob has gotten in the driver’s seat before we’d leave home. And I’d let him enjoy sitting there. Wonder what is going through his mind? It must feel crummy to know you can never drive. Or, just maybe he doesn’t care and is happy to know he’ll never have to.

He will clap or wave to get our attention and then it is up to us to guess what he wants. Maybe adjust the volume, or skip that chapter on the DVD, or even ‘hey, can we stop for burgers?’ If he could snap his finger, I have no doubt that he would All of that is okay!

These chauffeurs are ready, willing, and able to transport our famous (in some parts) son with a smile on our face.

Happy Birthday Dad

I’ve written this post for Jacob. It’s really not right for me to assume what he’d want to communicate. Who am I to know what he’d ‘say’? However, after all these years, I have an idea. I think a pretty accurate one and believe it would go something like this:

Today is my dad’s birthday. I want everyone to know he is the best dad ever. I am one lucky dude for sure.

Before I was born, my dad already had my name picked out. If he had a son, he wanted to name him Jacob. So when the doctor said “it’s a boy”, my dad was super excited! His firstborn, called Jacob.

We would have so much fun. Camp in the backyard with flashlights. Teach me to ride a bike. He imagined we’d go to ball games to cheer on our favorite team and ride motorcycles one day. Maybe we would learn and play golf together. And I might graduate from the same college and become an engineer like him. Parents dream big dreams for their children and he probably did for me.

Instead, a neurologist told him I wouldn’t grow and learn like most children. It was a sad day and I watched tears roll down his face. But you know what? My dad has never acted disappointed in what I can’t do. It seems his mission in life is to help me do my best. He tries to set me up for success. I know he wants happiness for me most.

The involved dads help out with their young children. They may feed, give baths, and brush teeth. Read a book before putting them to bed and say night-time prayers. What they don’t do, is consider they may be doing those things for the rest of their life. But my dad has continued to do those things and even more to meet my needs for 40 plus years now. Over and over again. Including praying with and for me every single night.

Dad, today on your birthday, I want to say thanks for always being there for me. Today I want happiness for you the most.

May you have all the chocolate you can eat. Enough for you and enough for me (because you always share).

As you are out on the golf course today, I hope you have a really Happy Happy Birthday Dad!


I love you,
Cooter Bug

Clear a Path

Fairly often when I drop Jacob off in the mornings, the entrance to his building may be blocked or crowded. Not that he can’t enter. But there may be 2, 3, 4, 6 people either in the doorway, at the check-in desk, or in the only available hallway.

It may be staff congregating, parents, or clients arriving. Herein lies a problem. Jacob has an aversion to walking between people. Or, sometimes even walking past a person who may have their back to him and not causing any interference whatsoever. I’d chalk it up as social anxiety. Perhaps. Why is that? Your answer is as good as mine. I don’t know for sure but I do wish it wasn’t an issue for him. It is hard to avoid in so many situations. But, I can tell you this—it helps to clear a path for Mr. Pigford.

By observation, you can determine which people ‘know’ Jacob. They may have experienced his wrath. They move out of his way. It’s sad for me when I see peers scurry away. “Here comes Jacob.” But the truth is, he has gotten his point across to them and they’ve learned to respect his space.

We are taught to use good manners. Hold a door open for someone approaching. Unfortunately, that is not the thing to do when Jacob is headed for the door. Over and over again, I have witnessed a nice mannerly person open the door for him only to receive a very unfriendly ‘thank you’. YIKES!

I feel like I am always apologizing for his behavior. Coffee in your hand? Hold on tight, there’s about to be a spill. “I’m sorry.” Purse on your arm? Not for long as he may grab it and toss into the bushes. “I’m sorry!” Arm full of papers? Watch out, they may go flying. “I’m so sorry!” Nothing between you and him? He’s probably going to pull on your clothing. “I’m sorry!” “He popped buttons off your shirt?” “I am so sorry, bring it back and I’ll sew those on for you!”

Very often I have a feeling of déjà vu as I watch Jacob when people are nearby. Sometimes I’m almost holding my breath. Sometimes praying. It’s like a movie I’ve seen before. I know how it is going to play out. And it’s probably not going to be a happy ending. I can’t decide whether to intervene and warn his intended victim or see if perhaps it doesn’t play out like it has other times.

The good thing about stepping aside and letting Jacob open a door for himself is his focus shifts to the job at hand rather than the person. (Not that he can’t multi-task but your odds are better if he has one hand on the door.)

Doorways are not the only time he may act out. A crowded hallway can feel as threatening to him. You know how dignitaries have security that practically circles them making sure the ’common’ folk don’t get too close to touch? Jacob needs his own shield or security detail to keep everyone at a safe distance. Or maybe porcupine quills …

Make a way, clear a path, he’s coming through!!