Sunday, March 10, 2013

Quality time

So, last Wednesday, Ben's older brother (W) was staying after school to help make props and such for the school play.  He's psyched, because he landed the coveted role of Han Solo.  I was supposed to pick him up at 5:00, but got a call about 20 minutes before that from his teacher.  There had been an x-acto knife incident, and I needed to take him somewhere for stitches.

Ben and I hopped in the car, chatting with our pediatrician's office on the way.  We picked up W, who had, in fact, accidentally jammed an x-acto knife into his thigh just above the knee.  It was immediately clear to me that his favorite pants were ruined, and also that he had missed the big artery - yay! 

We went to the new Instacare facility, calling Lovely Wife (LW) to let her know what was up.  The new place was great, and seemed devoid of other patients.  We'd hardly finished check-in when LW showed up and whisked Ben away, leaving W and me to deal with the stitches.  As it turned out, it gave us a little quality time together.

I'm a firm believer that any kid should get lots of one-on-one time with each of their parents.  When you're the sibling of an autistic kid, you deserve more than most.  That's why I don't mind a bit when LW and W go skiing on Sundays this time of year, leaving me with potty training, laundry, and cooking to do.  They have a blast together, and come back with lots of stories and high fives.
Last shuttle launch ever.

In the exam room, I sat admiring my son with a silly grin on my face.  He was handling his wound and my dumb jokes about it with great stoicism.  He listened to my stories about previous trips to emergency rooms with well-feigned interest.  Soon, I realized that I was having quality time with W for the first time in a long while.

Don't get me wrong -- I've had some awesome adventures with just him and me.  We went to Nerdtacular last year.  We got to see the very last space shuttle launch ever (thanks Ma and Pa). 

Winter's not my time of year - I'm from the South and didn't grow up skiing or sledding or building igloos. 

I came to a realization (just a little one) sitting there with W.  Even if it's not "my time of year", I need quality time at least as much as he does.

The nurse came in and said, "OK, you can go now."  W stood up from the table and his face went ashen.  He wobbled a bit and I helped him sit back down.  The nurse offered him an Otterpop and said he'd better wait another 15 minutes or so.  We both said, "OK" and enjoyed our bonus quality time.

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