Sunday, 23 October 2011

Destination Home

We had a lay over in Edmonton on our way to BC.  During our hour and a half wait in Edmonton, I figured we should probably grab a bite to eat for lunch and maybe have a coffee.  As we sat at a table with our subs and drinks, I glanced over to the table next to us.  There sat two pilots, who gave us a friendly nod and a smile.  One of them turned to Dayton and asked where his destination was.
In his monotone voice used when he's not sure what's appropriate Dayton says:  "I'm going to BC."  Less then a minute later he says:  "Because my grandpa is dying."  He said it so matter of factly, like he was telling someone he's going to eat his sandwich.

If there is such a thing as a 'Stop Button' for conversations, I think that that was it right there.  Astonished into speechlessness, the pilots just sat there dumbstruck.  Slowly, they turned their faces away from us, mumbling something like "I'm sorry for your troubles..."  I mean, what do you say to something like that?

As for me, I was struck by Dayton's way of thinking, his way of looking at things as white and black with no emotion.  The sky is blue, not black...  In my moment of sadness, I couldn't help but wonder if Dayton's missing a 'sensitivity chip' or something.  How can he not feel?  I thought back to my conversation with Dayton's school, where I was told that yes, Dayton had told them about his grandpa dying, but because he was still smiling and carrying on as he usually does, they weren't sure if this was actually the case.  Now I got to see it first hand...

Not only that, but I also realized just how delayed Dayton is...  Dayton is turning ten in February, and he speaks more like a five year old, with that call it as you see it innocence.  If you're a parent and remember your child as a five year old, you know exactly what I mean...  "Mamma, wow!  Look mamma, look!!!  That guy's covered in tattoos and his hair is pink!!!  Look at those chains!"  He's still in that narrow window of life where he hasn't learned the art of tactfulness...

But then we got to Vancouver and got the news of grandpa Jerry's passing...  Glen got the news first directly from his sister.  He was beside himself, crying.  Then I began to cry and couldn't stop.  And then I looked over at Dayton.  I was struck by his smallness...  He was really just a little boy, who either a) finally understood what's happened, or b) got freaked out by his dad and his mom both crying and instead of seeing them on guard, he saw them trying to give each other comfort, reassuring each other that there's nothing they could have done differently...  Who could have predicted how quickly grandpa Jerry would go...  Dayton's dam of tears broke...  and broke my heart further...

Autism...  such misconceptions of people with autism not having feelings...  and I myself almost wondered this too.  My son has feelings, he just doesn't understand them as well as we do.  

Considering myself hugged,


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