Ten years ago today, I gave birth to a 10 lb. nine oz. baby. We named him Alaric, which means “king of all” and happens to be the name of the king of the Visigoths who defeated Rome in 410 AD, but we mostly call him Al.
Here are ten things I’m thankful for about Al:
He is grateful for the many small blessings in his life, as well as the bigger ones. He has been working at cleaning up his room in preparation for his birthday party this weekend, and he has been finding toys and other objects he hadn’t seen in quite a while. While he doesn’t enjoy the work of cleaning, he is thrilled at each of these small finds, as they bring back pleasant memories of how much he had enjoyed those things before.
He is, for the most part, content to be who he is. Occasionally he has said he wishes he didn’t have autism, when he is feeling extremely frustrated (something that happens much more often with autistic people, particularly when they have to deal with something new – which is a great deal of the time when you’re growing up) and having trouble calming down. But the other day, for our Bedtime Blessing he wrote a poem using words that start with the letters of his name, and the first word he chose was Autism. After all, he pointed out, that’s a significant part of who he is.
He wants to follow God, but he is also honest about his questions and doubts.
He loves learning new things. Many of his interests do not last long, but while he is interested he throws himself wholeheartedly into it. I get to learn new things along with him, or tell him about things I already know that interest me.
He is an avid reader. His taste in books is not the same as mine – or the same as mine at age ten – but there are some books we can enjoy together. I had fun introducing him to Paddington Bear recently.
He loves to make up stories. Unlike me, he would prefer to tell them aloud than to write them down, but either way he is exercising his imagination.
He is an excellent speller. So is the rest of the family, so it’s no great surprise, but it’s satisfying to watch him spell words I didn’t even know he knew. Sometimes he has to ask for help, but rarely.
He is taking a greater interest in healthy eating and exercise. He has rediscovered a liking for salads (at a year old he would as happily munch on a piece of lettuce as a chip, but by age two he would no longer eat any vegetables), and he is trying to exercise regularly.
He has a generous spirit, as happy to give gifts as receive them.
He is my son – a reason by itself to be thankful.
Happy Birthday, Al!