Friday, November 30, 2012

#GBE2: The Visit (a single-syllable challenge)

"Can he hear me?" a man asked me one day while he looked at our son in his room. It was such a raw thing to ask. Most  saved  their thoughts  while they looked at him, not quite sure of what or who he was.

It was the first day we had met this man. He had come to judge what our house was worth.  He walked from room to room while I hung my head. Our house was full of dirt and left to waste while I tried my best to care for our kids and their needs. It made me cringe.

                  How my house feels to me..

The house and our lives were a mess,  and I did not like it one bit.  That day, I was on edge at the thought of a man who's job it was to take a keen eye to our roof, walls, and floors. I felt shame.

I wished I was able to keep all the balls in the air.

He was quiet as he walked in front of me. I stared at his back and felt fear for the words he did not say. Was this place as bad as I thought?  At the door to our son's room, he stopped. His eye had caught a view of our guy as he paced back and forth by the side of his bed.

One or more of these...

 ...leads to a house of these.

"Hi there!" the man called out to him.

Our son did not greet him. He just paced. Back and forth. Back and forth.

"Can he hear me?" the man asked me. It caught me off guard.

"He can hear but he can't talk," I told him. "He sees us but he won't look. Right now, he's scared by you, and the only way he knows to cope is to pace."

I watched the face of this man as he, in turn, watched our son.

"Why is he scared?" he asked, not able to grasp our son's needs.

"You're new," I said. "Things that are new are hard for him. Lights, sounds and touch are hard for him.Yet, when he saw you, he did not run from the room like he used to do. That's growth!"

I told our son that I was proud of him for his hard work. Then, I walked on so that this man could get back to his task.  But the man did not move. He looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, " I could cry right now."

He stood still and  watched our son pace and play with his most loved toy.

"There's a lot in life that he can do, " I said to him at last. "Like most kids, he has things that he must learn to do; but, I know that he'll find his way. Just wait and see."

The look on this man's face was not so sure. I left him with his thoughts as we went through the rest of the house and  then thanked him for his time as he walked out the door. Our son had shown this man a side of life with needs that he did not know. Glad that we could do that, I went on with the day with no more thoughts of him.

The next day, the man called me.

"Since I left your house, I can't get your son off of my mind," he said.  "From now on, I'm sure that when I see his toy, I'll think of him."

I was touched.

Then he said, "Please let me waive my fee. I would like to gift it to a group that can help to teach what I learned in your home."

My home. My mess of a home. And, here I was so scared of the filth that he would see that I did not think of what else he might see.  Our needs. Our hope. Our lives.

I'd sold him short. I'd sold us all short.

He made the gift to a group and hung up the phone.  That night, as I went to sleep, I felt a sense of peace for some of the fires we've had in our life.

I've not seen nor talked to that man since that day he called. At this point, I don't  know his name. Yet, just as he said he will think of our son, I'm also sure that I will think of him. He saw our world and was changed by it. For that, I was changed, too.

Our house is a big, fat mess. I still don't like it, but that's a fact that might stay true for some time. Past the mess, though,  there are gifts that we have gained from this life of ours. I'd lost sight of that and am glad that this man came to our home. As I face our filth each day, it helps to think of our boys and all they have to give.

When I do so, I am able to see that there is so much more to us than our mess.


This entry was written in response to a ridiculously hard challenge issued by The Group Blogging Experience 2 (GBE 2).  "Blog using only single syllables."  

Photos courtesy of MorgueFile


  1. Again, I am so moved. Not because of the man nor his insight and growth, but because YOU don't know how you and your honest sharing of life with autism has changed many people. This, of course, includes me. I have learned so much from you and have so much more to learn and every step forward for either of your boys brings tears and unimaginable glee to my soul.

    I love you all, sight unseen, and you have intensely influenced who I am.

    And all in one syllable words! WHOOP for you!

  2. Glee! I could have used 'glee'!!! Hahahaha!

    You humble me, Jo.

    My encounter with this fellow was what started me to share more about our life. Living out loud, so-to-speak.

  3. I think anyone put in your midst would be inspired by your strength and hope. Wonderful post using your one syllable words.


    1. Flying by the seat of my pants is more accurate. lol.

      Thanks, Kathy! I know that I could bring any of you to my house!

  4. I hate to say it Amy (and you know I do), but Jo took all the words right out of my mouth! (That's why all I can do now is type I guess)

    Your post was so poignant and so important that one would not even notice the single-syllable factor if it weren't pointed out. Great job!

    1. Hi, Mike!

      Thank you! But, ugh, that post was rough to write! Am I the only one who found that to be a challenge?

      This was definitely a memorable moment for me. I think of it all the time.

    2. Well I am doubly glad then, that you wrote about it, and so well. BTW, it does not come across as if it were difficult for you at all! Probably because it was such a turning-point moment for you (and your readers-to-be). Thanks for sharing that especially significant event with us.

      PS Did you know that the Bible says that sometimes we are "entertaining angels, unawares"? Just sayin'...

    3. Oh my!! I was not aware! :)

      You are so kind!!

  5. Loved this, Amy! You have such a way with words, even one-syllable ones! Having spent time in your house, each time I read your posts, I can picture the events you're describing, but the way you write, one doesn't have to have been to your house for the images to be clear. Hope that makes's Friday afternoon of a long week, so I'm not sure how coherent I am right now!

    1. Tasha, I love my history with you. Thank you for your constant support.

      No, it's your turn to face this challenge!

  6. What a lovely post. I found this prompt very hard, too, but you did an excellent job with it. I think you are a great example of why it often pays to live our lives out loud, especially through the challenges we face.

    1. Oh, Tara, thank you for saying that this challenge was hard. I feel better! You are such a good writer!

      I love that you just said the phrase 'live out loud'. They are single-syllable words that I wrote in this post but later was forced to edit. :). This experience is what started my effort to live out loud. I have no answers for anyone. But I have to think if I live this life openly and honestly, perhaps some other families can glean some insight into their own lives. That is my hope.:

      That you for your insight!

  7. I bet there is. Phyllis Diller said, "Cleaning house with growing children is like shoveling snow when it's still snowing."

  8. Great job in so many ways- One syllable story that told so much- I feel so inspired by the realness and I applaud you


  9. And now I will think of him, too. Thank you for that.

    All of this in single syllables. Magic, really. Much, I think, like the magic that is within your sons--enormous beauty presented in small, sometimes challenging bits. Kind of perfect, really.

    1. Thank you. And, I truly mean it when I say that any time you'd like to babysit, please head our way! :)

      Beth, this was a tough one!! You sure do crack a whip!


  10. Life is messy.
    This story is beautiful.
    I didn't even think about single syllable words because it seemed so natural. Great job!

    1. Hi, Lee. Thanks for taking the time to read this! It was a definite challenge for me.

      Yeah, life is messy. You make a good point. I just wish my Type A personality would buy into it. :)

  11. Amy, I truly believe that man was sent to you that day by divine power. It was meant for you to share your lives with the rest of us to educate us on the true meaning of love and compassion. I am so blessed by your honest stories and the fact that you let us all be invited voyeurs into what goes on in your home. Thank you and God bless. Great job on the prompt.

    1. Hi, Kat! Thank you so much for your comments. I'm happy that you all take the time to read about us.

      Before this meeting happened, we were pretty to ourselves about all we faced with our kids. Frankly, I'm so caught up in it that I don't notice how different we are. Yet, when I saw how the glimpse into our lives touched this one person, I really did pause. Why go through this life in quiet? Why not just live and let people glean from it what they may?

      It really was the first step to broadcasting to everyone who we are, the mistakes I've made in parenting these special needs and what this life has taught me.

  12. Amy,
    Catching up on reading pervious posts and came across this one. I did not know the syllable challenge when I read it, and never noticed as the writing and experience were so honest and touching. How fortunate that this man shared with you the difference meeting your sno made in his life. A true "domino effect" moment.