Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Jack & Jill and a Circus of Butterflies

JACKSON THOMAS: Today (and by today I mean yesterday) was my brother Jackson's birthday :) Jackson is 9 years old and my best friend. He has taught me so much more than probably anyone else, he lives in Northern California right now so I don't get to see him all that often but dang do I love this kid. Happy Birthday Jackson!
It's funny how kids sometimes know so much more than anyone else. They ask the questions that we are too afraid to. But sometimes that the innocence that the rest of us have somehow lost in the process of growing up. I got to talk to him tonight, he shared his birthday with my dad and stepmom at the restaurant and a girl who turned 21 tonight as well gave him a piece of her cake. So great! Jackson also happens to have Aspergers Syndrome but to me that doesn't matter. I mean yeah talking to him and playing with him sometimes gets kind of hard as you might compare him to the other nine year olds you see in his classes but he's still my brother and I know that God knitted him together perfectly and he is the way he is if only to be able to teach me more about life through the eyes of a child again. Granted yes I am only 21 years old but there is a big difference in the way a 21 year old female college kid who is itchin to experince something bigger than herself and a 9 year old boy who loves to play with bakugons and college marbles sees the world happening around them.
Last spring break I got to take Jack to Disneyland. Well my dad and stepmom took both of us but the plan was for me to take Jack and we would get to run around the park together and my dad and stepmom could have their own Disney date weekend. Believe me, I think I was more excited about this than he was! The first couple days however were not as planned. Part of it was how tired he was from traveling and running around the first day, which went great but the second day was another story. You never know with Aspergers. Rides that he had been on twice the day before were now too scary or he thought he was too little, and he didn't want to do anything but sit at the base of the California Screamin Rollercoaster in California Adventure and watch the launch happen. We tried every trick in the book to get him away from that roller coaster and we knew that if we could just get him on the ride he would love it! I was so sad because I knew how much fun he had had the day before and how much I wanted to share this place that I know WAY too much about (really though I have a problem) with my brother who would be just as excited as I was. All we could do was be patient with him. It's more than just him being a brat and trying to be stubborn. For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, Aspergers Syndrome is a high functioning form of Autism. The Autism Society defines it as
"People with Asperger's Syndrome appear to demonstrate normal cognitive and language development ( though the onset of speech may be slightly delayed). They are less obviously socially impaired than children with autism, and may develop relationships with parents and other family members. It is with peers that the qualitative impairments in reciprocal social interaction become most apparent. They may also have unusual or elaborate preoccupations with objects or topics... Diagnostic Criteria - A) Qualitative impairment in social interaction; B) Restricted and repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behaviour, interests and activities; C) Causes clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning; D) There is no clinically significant general delay in language; E) There is no clinically significant delay in cognitive development or in the development of age-appropriate self-help skills, adaptive behaviour and curiosity about the environment in childhood; F) Criteria are not met for another specific Pervasive Developmental Disorder or Schizophrenia"
Jack & Jill @ Disneyland!

 So needless to say we couldn't exactally just pull him away from the rollercoaster. There was more to it than  that. When we rode it the day before I videotaped the ride and all the way home and in the hotel room that was all he wanted to do. He was memorizing the ride and playing the pattern over again in his head. The next day however I was able to get him up early and take the monorail straight into Tomorrowland, completely avoiding Cali Adventure. HE LOVED IT! This was the day I was hoping for :) We had so much fun! We got to see Captain Eo, the Michael Jackson film that they brought back to Tomorrowland and meet Mickey and Minnie and I will never forget riding the train around the park and having him see the Autopia cars and the light on his face looking up to me and asking if we can go on those ones. We did. 3 times. But I loved everyminute, and he's actually a good driver.... kinda... best vacation ever!
So happy birthday Jack! I love you and I hope to see you soon!

THE BUTTERFLY CIRCUS: ok thanks to Sony, I can't think of "butterflies" without having a quote from the wonderful Despicable Me movie pop into my head. ...
 "Ah, my caterpillar never turned into a butterfly,"
"That's a cheeto."
"oh".. (eats the cheeto)
HAHA love that! however that is not what I am talking about here. The Butterfly Circus is a short film about a n extraordinarily ring leader who can see the true triumph behind what everyone else sees as defeat. To a non believer this movie is still uplifting but I challenge you to look at it with Christ in mind. It becomes mind blowing. My heart breaks and cheers at the same time while watching this but I will let you see for yourself.

Til the next new day ♥ ,

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