Monday, June 20, 2011

ASPCA - Commercial Alert! Commercial Alert!

Yesterday, Joey and I were sitting across the family room from each other - him in Justin's recliner and me, as usual, on the couch.  I think he was waiting for Justin to make him some microwave popcorn and was sitting and watching TV with me while he waited.

As we watched, an ASPCA commercial came up and, as usual, I was holding back tears by the time it came to an end.  Those things are geared towards yanking your heart out through your chest to get you to donate your money and, being an animal lover, it's horrible to see those poor little scared puppies and kitties.  I can't stand the thought of an animal being in pain.

I glanced over and Joey was trying very hard not to cry.  It's funny with Joey and emotions.  I used to think that because of the autism, emotion was something he wouldn't understand.  All of a sudden, he is discovering emotions (in a good way) and has become very empathetic.  He's such a sweet little guy.  I told him it was okay, that it was just a commercial, and that all of those animals were being taken care of now.  And that we were doing our part by having our three animals, all of which were adopted, the cats through rescue agencies and the dog from someone who just didn't want him.  I told him to go hug the dog, which he did, and then went to eat his popcorn.  I didn't think much more about it.

Until about 11:00 last night when I went upstairs to get ready for bed.  Joey turns his light out at 10:30, although he usually stays up reading by the closet light for awhile because he, like me, has trouble going to sleep.  Last night, when I glanced in his doorway to see if he was still awake, he was lying there crying.  I asked him what was wrong and he said something to the effect of the ASPCA commercial was "making me sad."

I hugged him and told him that when he gets a little older, if he really wants to help animals, he can start by volunteering at an animal shelter.  And if he really likes animals, he could even become a veterinarian.  And I told him that we will always have animals in our house.  I can't imagine living in a house without animals - mine are almost as much my children as my children are.  They get the expensive food and I will put their needs ahead of mine.

Autism and emotions.  It's such an amazing amount of progress on Joey's part and it's kind of coming on the heels of a year full of amazing achievements on his part.  I had been afraid for his whole elementary school career that he would be tormented in middle school and instead, he absolutely thrived.  In fact, he thrived so much that he got two perfect scores out of three on the standardized tests this year and will be in the pre-algebra class next year, seventh grade.

Joey constantly amazes me.  I am so glad God chose me to be his mother.


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