A Story about a Nine year Old Boy and bringing his Grand-daddy Back
We all process death uniquely and at our own pace, that is the nature of the beast. In my mind, that also applies to the pending departure of a loved one. With Fall right around the corner and the leaves dying, I guess it prompted my Nine-year-old Son Quinton, who is on the Autism Spectrum, to ponder when his Nana dies. Nana is my Mom, and they are incredibly close. He must have been having a telepathic warning because a week later, my Mom was in the hospital with a septic infection in her spine. Thankfully, my Mom is at home, receiving antibiotics in I.V. ports twice a day for six weeks. While not ideal, at least she is still with us, and we are all very grateful.
When he found out she was in the hospital, Quinton was understandably upset by the whole ordeal and said to me, “No Mom, she is all that we have left of our ancestors. She can’t die.” He went on to say that if Nana lives twenty more years, it would be a record-breaker. I found it fascinating that he used the word ancestor rather than relative, but he continually surprises me. I was unaware he even knew that if a 78-year-old lived twenty more years, it would be highly unusual. That’s a very sophisticated concept for one so young, especially when they are on the Autism Spectrum.
After conversing about my Mom, Quinton then broached the subject of my Dad, who died in 2013 when Eli was three and a half years old. The two were very close, and even though Quinton was non-verbal due to his Autism, they communicated with looks, physical contact, and their own set of rituals. Periodically Quinton brings up my Dad and always at the least expected times. This particular time when he brought up my Dad, it was to talk about time machines.
Quinton’s idea was to build a time machine, go back to the past, find Grand-daddy, and bring him back here with us. After he had located and secured him, he planned to travel with Grand-daddy where-ever he wanted to go next. He made it clear that it would be just him and Grand-daddy in the time machine, which is another fact I found very intriguing. He did not mention my Mom, or my Mom and all of us together; he was adamant about it being just the two of them.
Quinton and my Dad shared many similar interests. They both loved Science, insects, and spiders. My Dad was a Bio-chemist and so proud that Quinton loved looking at bug photos, photos of the planets, trees, and plants. My Dad, who petrified with fear about snakes, also enjoyed looking at pictures of snakes in books with Quinton. They would find bugs together in the field in the playground and get hours of fascination from them long after the rest of had grown bored.
My thought was that maybe Quinton wanted to take the time machine and go on Scientific excursions with my Dad, knowing full well none of us would be as excited at the prospect. Whatever the reason behind Quinton’s thinking about only those two passengers aboard the time machine, the entire possibility flabbergasted me.
How does a nine-year on the Autism Spectrum concoct a plan this complicated when they can’t grasp why you won’t let them have endless glasses of lemon-aide every day? Where you with-holding the lemonade from them leads to a 55-minute meltdown of monumental proportions. Where did Quinton learn about Time Machines and time travel and how then did he connect it to my Dad? I am still not sure as Quinton can’t answer questions like that, and I know this because I asked him.
One thing I do know is that the puzzle of Autism only grows deeper every day, at least in our lives it does. And trying to predict what the next hour will bring, let alone what the next spectacular unexpected idea will be that tumbles out of Quinton’s brain will be, is next to impossible. The other thing I know for sure is that I have never met a more extraordinary, captivating child who has made me a much better, more well-rounded person. And seeing the world through the lens of Quinton’s eyes is a gift every day.