A few years ago we went to Disney for a few days over New Year’s. The four of us, plus my folks and my sister. Bryan loves, loves, loves when the family is together. Another stereotype busted, kids with autism are detached. No one is more attached, affectionate, loving than Bryan. I get about 20 kisses a day and lots of yummy hugs. He also wants to squeeze my belly, jam his chin into me and pinch, but you take the good with the bad! In any event, we were at a timeshare place and we had a big dining room table that seated 8. We were all sitting at the table having breakfast and Bryan put his arm around both of my parents and put his face in the middle and said “together”. He loves to put my hand with Erwin’s hand or my hand with my mom’s hand. He gets the family connection. The unconditional love and acceptance surrounds him like a hot bath, another of his favorites. The pure delight on his face, when he sees my sister never gets old. Each night we had happy hour when we got back from the parks. One night when we were talking about happy hour, someone asked Jason if he knew what happy hour is. He was about 5 at the time and he said, “yeah, when someone knocks on your door and comes in and then you’re happy”. So sweet. Perhaps he didn’t see the vodka or scotch bottle.
It is particularly meaningful that I was writing about family today. Last night my great Uncle Herbie passed away at the young age of 96. He was so lovable. He was the last of 9 brothers and sisters who were beloved, and this crazy, fun group of 9 included my Pop, Victor Henschel who I have written about before. It is truly the end of an era. My mom is away with my aunt now and I know she will be very sad that she is not here to say the formal goodbye. Uncle Herbie looked so much like my Pop that to see him, was to just get that little bit of Pop and to preserve that feeling of being a kid, not a middle aged person without any grandparents left.
I was thinking about family so much this week. My cousins, who are truly like my brothers, always “show up” for me. It’s hard to describe this in a way that will really illustrate my point. We don’t see each other every week or talk every day but the glue, the blood connection is always solid. To me they are a lifeline in a way, that life preserver of love and commitment that gives you a boost and saves you from drowning. When I had lunch with my 3 first cousins (they are brothers) and told them about how Bryan was lost at camp and we didn’t know about it, they listened so intently. They each approached this crazy story in different ways, based on who they are and their experiences, and also in the way the know and love me. I knew I would get good advice and counsel, but I got way more than that. I got pure empathy. Empathy for me and for my husband. I left that lunch all choked up at what a lucky girl I am. I love their wives too, they are as different as the guys, and each are loving and caring. I had dinner with one of them last month and we talked about a lot and about nothing. There is a certain unwritten respect and love there. On Wed I have lunch with one of the other wives ( by the way,I call the wives my cousins too because I love them so much) and we just laughed and got caught up. It’s like an old friend, but better because you know the force behind it. FB has also connected me with more of the extended family and I know my Pop is smiling down. When I was a kid and we got together with family, he always cried with happiness. What a mushball he was, particularly when he saw his brothers and sisters. I’m a sap too when it comes to family, must be a Henschel thing!
My sister in law gets it. She so damn easy to get along with and fun. She just doesn’t get her feathers ruffled. She willingly and lovingly takes the boys overnight and embraces Bryan’s wake ups at 5 am with love and bagels!! She and her kids moved down a few years ago after a divorce and we try to help each other out. No nonsense, no BS, just make it easier for each other, period. It is great that she and Erwin have such a good relationship. They rely on each other and know that the other one is always there. Erwin is the most loyal person you will ever know. He would literally do anything for anyone that means something to him. He is the perfect father of a special needs father. He does not say why us? He says, this is my boy and I love him Bryan hit the jackpot with this one!!
Why am I writing about this? It’s not the usual venting but yet still I feel this need to share and to put these warm thoughts down. This good stuff will go out the window quick, so I have to catch while I can.