Doing For Vs. Doing With

9 06 2008

I’ve learned an important lesson this week: Doing something for my son is not the same as doing something with him. Frankly, it doesn’t even come close!

My time is spent doing things for my family– growing my garden, re-doing the playroom, organizing schedules, making meals, cleaning, washing and shopping… but, what really matters is the time I spend doing things with them…

Yesterday it was hot. J was planted in front of the TV, my husband was at his computer, I was playing hearts. We all hibernated into our own personal spaces and were wasting the day. I’m not sure why I did it but all of a sudden I rallied the troops: “Put on your swimming shorts– we’re going to play!” And, off we were to the kiddie pool on the deck. It was raucous, loud and we wasted a lot of water. But we were together.

People talk about families having dinner together as a great opportunity to talk. It is… but, frankly at our house that’s work. We prod and pry and push to get J to tell us what he thinks, wants, did… He’s always in a hurry to get away from the table and it’s just not quality family time so we don’t do it very often.  Playing is what works for us.  The trampoline, the kiddie pool or a good pillow fight are the best family times we have.  J ends up making some great sentences and there isn’t the “work” that’s involved in dinner conversation. Maybe the success of crazy play time has to do with his need for deep pressure. J’s autism seems to melt away during physical play.  He doesn’t care for organized sports but dutifully hollers “Go Purdue!” when prompted.  He doesn’t stick with games despite my efforts to get him to play to the end. But he can’t get enough of crazy, disorganized raucous playtime.

It’s important to do things for my family. It’s good for all of us that I’m growing a garden and that there is food in the house, clean clothes to wear and the playroom renewal project is a good thing but J won’t remember what color the walls are or what white food I bought in a particular month.  He will remember whether I spent time with him. I guess that’s all that really matters.






One response

9 06 2008

Haha! Go Purdue! Well. What else do you need???

We do the dinner thing. Just about every night. It is like pulling teeth sometimes to get Little Miss to converse during dinner–and Capt. O hardly shuts up. So it works in the long run. 🙂

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