Our kids get a bath every night whether they need one or not.
Bath times are extra special at our house. I think that’s why we wash our kids every night.
Our five-year-old daughter, Harper, and our three-year-old son, Griffin, don’t play together much during the course of the day. Griffin has autism and is in “Griffin Land” most of the day.
“I don’t know why Griffy won’t play with me, but I still love him,” Harper said one day, summing up her relationship with her brother.
You try not to compare your kids to other kids. You try. But you do. Watching special sibling bonds develop in other kids and not seeing them in your own is tough.
But bath time is time for Harper to make Griffin laugh. The other night in an effort to make the funniest of faces she stretched her cheeks out with her fingers so far that she left read marks at the corners of her mouth. Bath time is a time for Griffin to play hide and seek, to share and take toys from Harper.
Sometimes the kids get in fights, but they are interacting and I’ll take it. (note: Griffin is easy and unlike other siblings their ages Griffin and Harper rarely get in a fight or argue. Autism has its advantages, I guess.)
Griffin is very affectionate to Annie and me, but Harper rarely gets an unprompted hug from Griffin. I worry that Harper won’t love Griffin as she would if he didn’t have autism. She plays. He keeps to himself and spells out multisyllabic words that kids twice his age can’t even read.
Then last night something happened. It was a small something, so don’t get all worked up for an Upworthy “and you won’t believe what happened next headline.”
I got Harper out of the bath first, she put on lotion (because she gets a bath every single night), got dressed, and then brushed her teeth. She did all of this while I finished bathing Griff. When Harper is done she usually goes into her room to read, which she did this night. But here’s what got me. When Griffin and I went to the sink to brush his teeth, there was his toothbrush with a little dab of toothpaste and his cup, the one with a G on it, half full of water.
Harper didn’t stick around and ask for praise or even think she was doing anything special.
It’s a small thing, but it’s the small things that we only do for those we love the most.
Sometimes I’m not sure if Harper loves Griffin or just loves him because she’s expected to love him. Her small act of love was unexpected and it screamed . . .
Harper loves Griffin.