The product of 3 sets of grandparents without any other grandchildren is that my house is overflowing with toys. I have so many toys that I frequently round some up and take them down to the Salvation Army and donate them rather than have a Garage Sale, something I’d rather never experience ever. I just can’t haggle with someone over a 50 cent coffee mug and still maintain my already-tenuous grasp on sanity.
But Alex has chosen, out of the piles of colorful plastic toys, this small wooden car.
That he would find this car and choose it above all other toys touches me.
This car is a time-capsule.
I’ve made mention before that Ben had chosen my mother as His Person, which (thank you Internet) you all told me is a pretty common thing for autistic kids to do. You have no idea how much that relieved me to know that it wasn’t just my son picking up on my inherent Asshole-ness.
But I probably didn’t tell you that Ben chose another person as His Person. That person, of course, was The Daver.
We met Dave in the winter of 2003-2004 and Ben, my normally silent, distant child was immediately captivated by him. They hadn’t met until I took Ben to the airport to pick Dave up from wherever he was returning from, but once I had, it was like the heavens had opened up for that child. And The Daver too.
The entire ride back home to St. Charles (sans The Daver), Ben strung together one of only a few sentences he had in the most forlorn voice I’d heard, “Oh, bye Dave.” He didn’t say “Mommy” but he immediately learned “Dave.”
Several months after that, Dave and I packed Ben up in the car and we took a road trip up nort’ dere hey to northern Wisconsin to visit a friend of his. Ben fell in love with a marble contraption thingy made by the Amish who live up there and on the way home, Dave insisted that we stop and get Ben one.
Ben was asleep in the car, so he and I stayed outside while Dave went into the Amish store and awhile later he emerged triumphant, the marble contraption thingy in his hand. After he packed it into the trunk to be given to Ben after he awoke, he got into the driver’s seat of my car and opened up his hand to me.
There, in the palm of his hand was this wooden car.
Even knowing that the child he’s always thought of as his son wouldn’t play crash-bang-boom Drive The Car Off The Couch pow-zap with it like a normal child, instead using it to make intricate lines of toys snaking around the house, he bought Ben a car. Like a normal child would like.
That car was used in elaborate designs, sometimes as a stand-in for Io, sometimes as one of many cars in a long line of toys, sometimes perched on the stairs, where Ben would carefully line toys up, row after ever-loving row.
That car moved with us, carelessly thrown into a random box of toys, to three or four places. The puppy teethed on it, Alex gnawed on it, I imagine that Amelia will also probably chomp on it too. It’s been here for our best moments and our worst.
I find it fitting that our second son, Ben’s brute of a baby brother, would take the car and use it in the way that his father once thought his brother might. That the child we hadn’t even talked about conceiving would fall in love with this toy.
It feels like some circle is now complete.
There are days like today, when my eldest gets in trouble for the third time this week for disobeying rules, where my middle child’s diaper busts a seem and leaks silica all over the carpet, where I learn that the help I’d arranged for Daver’s trip to London is going to flake on me, where the dog pees on the carpet and all of the Miracle Blankets are covered in goo. Days like this that I need a reminder of where I’ve been.
And where I’m going.
What about you?