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I'm Not Dead Yet...

Posted Aug 24 2008 10:45pm
Overall, it was a good day. I got up early and went to work for a few hours. Got a lot done since it was relatively quiet on the distribution end of things. I was home by noon, just in time to see Grandma and Poppa whisk J and T off to have an "adventure day" (adventure day occurs most weekends when G&P are in town - about half the year. It consists of, well, surprise adventures.) Today's adventure, as it turns out, was a puppet show down in Balboa Park, followed by some playground time, followed by Church. Then off to get some Mexican Food.

In the meantime, my wife took baby C to run some errands and left me to attack the garage. After 5 and a half hours of rearranging shelving and hanging pegboard, thinning out the garage-related inventory, narrowly escaping a Black Widow spider (thanks to my cat-like reflexes I am alive to write this blog post), and marvelling at how much Diazanon (sorry, Andrea ) we have accumulated over 8 years of marriage, I was famished.

So I headed up to meet G&P and the Boys (that sounds eerily like a bluegrass band name) and get some food. After a nice dinner in which J and T both spilled their pink lemonade, it was time to drive home. This is where things became interesting.

As I pulled on the freeway, I heard sniffling coming from behind me. Now, J is typically very emotionally stoic on the surface. As can be the case with many people with autism, he doesn't wear his emotions right there on his shirt sleeve all the time like some other people. But when he decides he is sad about something then, well, he gets really sad. I look in the rear view mirror and see the first crocodile tear flow down his cherubic cheek. I ask why he's crying.

"I'm sad."

"But why are you sad, Jason?"

"I'll miss you when you're dead."

(A brief pause by me as I apply One Dad's Opinion to the situation. I quickly determine that this is a teachable moment, a rare and elusive burst of existential lucidity coming from a 6 year old whose sponge-like mind will absorb my wise words and reference this moment for many years to come. So, I reply with...)

"But I'm not dead yet. I'm right here, driving the car."

As I have my Homer Simpson d'Oh! moment wherein I realize my mouth is substantially more active than my brain at this moment, I hear sniffles and a clipped cry coming from the other back seat. Now T is in on it!

"Daaaaady. I'll m-m-miiisss you when you're...hnf ...hnf ...hnf .... dead!"

("Hnf" is that sound little kids make when they cry and they have those involuntary hiccup-like breaths between sobs). Clearly this situation is needing some better action than my first response. So, I say "Look, there's no need to cry or be sad. How old am I right now?"

T: "36" (this kid is unbelievably detail-oriented)

"Right, and I don't plan on dying until I'm at least 76, or maybe 80, or maybe even older!"

This seemed to cause a brief cessation of sobbing in the backseat. I saw my opening, and I went for it.

"Who wants to listen to pirate music!?!?"

(together):"ME!!!"

"Then say, 'Arrr, Matey, I want some pirate music!'"

(together):"Arrr, Matey, I want some pirate music!"

I cued up Flogging Molly and turned it up a bit. Now, I love Irish music. One would think I am genetically inclined I take to it so much, even though I am 0% Irish (though I do proudly associate with the winner of the Irish Blog Awards last week!). For anyone who has not heard of or listened to Flogging Molly, please disregard the horrid name and give it a listen. I could best describe it as an eclectic blend of classic Irish music mixed with punk rock, and a little dash of other genres mixed in for good measure. Each band member plays numerous instruments, and the overall effect is just awesome. Oh, and some songs sound like pirate music.

Tomorrow or the next day I'll sit down individually with J and T and talk over how they were feeling and why they thought I might die. In the meantime, its just nice to know they care.
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