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Sunday, February 3, 2013

I'm Luke Skywalker

 Bubs 1 has lately been requesting to be addressed as "Luke Skywalker." He hasn't yet seen any of the Star Wars movies, but he knows all of the movie's characters. He plays Angry Birds Star Wars as part of his potty training reward system. His mom has been helping him learn about the movie's characters, i.e. Darth Vader, Chewbacca, etc.

On this topic, I recently found the bub's bubble wand in the trunk of the car. To me, this wand looked just like the Jedi vs Empire intergalactic weapon of choice -  the lightsaber. I showed it to the bubs. I should say, that I sold it to the Bubs. What do I mean by that? Well, instead of saying, "Hey Bubs! This bubble wand looks like Luke Skywalker's lightsaber," I sold it as, "Bubs! A lightsaber!" He bought it, and good thing too. He sometimes has a hard time grasping the concept that one item can represent two meanings. In fact, sometimes he gets downright argumentative and digs in his heels. His mom and I see him progressing in this area too. There are many variables operating here as he moves from a simply concrete-meaning world towards an abstract one. How does his ASD inhibit this? If at all? We'll likely never know, and frankly don't care as much either. We're seeing progress and that's all that matters. We're learning to see the bubs through the spectrum disorder, rather than the spectrum disorder through the bubs. 

As a kid, I wasn't big into Star Wars or science fiction. The culture I grew up in defined this area of interest as "uncool" and I was indoctrinated into this belief system. I gravitated towards sports, because that is what held social value. I was scared of being different, or considered less than.

I remember a childhood, neighbor couple. They were a geeky couple. They were science fiction fanatics. They were also adults, so they operated within another social paradigm. I remember that they had this really cool projector television unit, which made watching t.v. like sitting in a movie theater. I remember watching Star Wars on their projector/television. This had to be around 1979, or 1980. They had no children of their own, but they had two dogs. These two dogs, Captain and Brandy, were this couple's children. My parents hung out with over there house and they hung out over at ours. Their names were John and Joyce Mier, or Meyer. John was an auto mechanic. His hands were always stained in oil and grease. My father got John to help rebuild a car engine. My father knew very little about cars, and had even less money, so John's help was so very valuable due to the fact that we couldn't simply purchase another vehicle. I always remember my parents having car issues. It was rare that we ever had both cars operating at the same time. I remember my dad and John working on that engine for months. I'm sure that it wasn't fun for John to have to work all day and then come home to work on another car, but he was a nice guy. Joyce was too. However, a year or so after my father left the house, I had decided to move to where he lived. Joyce was upset about this decision, which I wasn't aware of until the day I was to move.

I remember answering a strange phone call that day. "Hello," I said as I answered the phone. "You're a fool and you're making a big mistake," I was told by somebody on the other end of the line. The person then hung up. I stood there for a second, unsure if I had just heard what I thought I heard. Then, about 10 minutes later, there was a knock at the door of my house. I answered the door and it was Joyce. She handed me a book. She was crying. The book was about how to take care of your dog. My mother got me a puppy after our family dog died. Our family dog, Pierre, was a French Poodle and lived to be 14 years old. Apparently, Joyce wanted me to have a reliable resource when raising the new one.

Joyce walked into the house and told me that she was the person who had called. She told me that my father was not a very nice person and that my decision to move in with him was breaking my mother's heart. This was a lot for me to take in, and I somehow quickly developed a way to "store" poignant information like this until I was better able to process it... if I ever did at all. I had already lived through a year of my mother informing me of every negative act my father did towards her. I learned about his tax problems, which stemmed from him not paying them and how these legal issues began to impact her financial needs. She told me all about his extra marital affairs and of his recent decision to stop paying her alimony. She even disclosed family secrets about my aunt and uncle, who had provided a new job and space in their home for my father to begin anew, after he left us. There was a lot of negativity that I was steeping in. So what Joyce was telling me was nothing new. I just knew that my mother was moving too, and I didn't want to live in Roselle, NJ. My mother had already registered me in Abraham Clark High School (it had an eighth grade attached). I didn't want to go there. It looked like hell to me. So I had no other option, because the bank was taking our house. Therefore I abandoned my mom too. I moved to a new state and lived in the home of my aunt and uncle, cousins and father. My world had changed. I even had temporarily moved up a social class, because my aunt and uncle were relatively wealthy. It caused enough distraction in my life for me not to think about my other life. However, time always catches up. I regret leaving my mom in that situation.

I sometimes wonder where John and Joyce are today. I would enjoy re-connecting with them after all these years. They cared about my mother. They likely don't know that she passed away. I bet that they would love to meet my family. I also bet that they have a pretty cool television set-up, where ever they are.

So as this blog is designed, that's a little bit more of my upbringing weaved into both bubs' soon-to-be past memories too. To end this post in the positive spirit of The Force, I'm going to cut-n-paste a post that my wife wrote on her facebook page today, "Well I'll be. My 4-yr old, whom experts claim to be autistic, made a joke, based on his imagination, in front of a small crowd of people last night. When the starbucks guy asked my son what his name was, he paused for a good while (usually takes him a while to formulate his words), and then shyly yet clearly said with a smile: "My name is Luke Skywalker."

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