It was Thanksgiving.
The more than 30 members and friends of my wife’s family bowed their heads to pray. They prayed for the food and for the gift of each other, and some others stuff. I have to admit I wasn’t paying that much attention.
I was looking up at my son Griffin who was sitting at a table playing by himself. Griffin is two so I worried that at any moment he would burp or fart or look at me and say, “you’re stinky!” Griffin is on the autism spectrum, and few things distract him from playing by himself. Griffin Land is his favorite place to be.
Griffin saw me looking at him. I gave him a little wave, and he gave me a big smile. And then he did something unexpected, something that answered my prayers. As his smile grew into a giggle, he got down from his chair, ran around the table and his praying relatives, jumped from Griffin Land into my arms, and hugged me.
All of the pumpkin pie in the world wasn’t as sweet as that little boy in that moment.
Before I had a son who was on the spectrum, I thought of individuals who were on the spectrum as robotic and without emotion. I thought they lacked a true connection with their fellow human beings. I was wrong. Griffin does spend a lot of time in Griffin Land, but when he comes out, he comes out smiling and with all of the love and affection that a dad could hope for.
Moments like this might happen less than with kids who aren’t on the spectrum, but that just makes them that much more special.
I’m thankful that these moments are happening more each day. Each one of them is their very own Thanksgiving.