Facebook Memory; February 2014…The year Caleb gained a Step-Dad ⭐️
Mum: Caleb, can I ask you something? Do you think you’d feel brave enough to get up in front of everyone, at the wedding, and read something out from the Bible, down a microphone?
Caleb: [deep, hesitant breath] Ye-eess. Sure Mum, I can do that for you. [Pause] YES! [more certain this time, beams a big smile]… Actually, I’d REALLY like to!
Mum: That’s brilliant Caleb, thanks!
Caleb: [Walking away, he continues to himself…] I think I’ll start by telling everyone a joke first, of course…
An ‘awkward sense of humour’ is a commonly identified trait of Aspergers… with inappropriate timing and misplaced content, if given the chance! BUT! I just don’t think social cues are the be all and end all here.
There is SO VERY much about Caleb’s communal, energised, wholesome, fun-seeking outlook that, to me, is just heart-squeezingly special. Hilarious too. Enviable. Maybe even more advanced than the status quo?
Take me. When did I last properly laugh out loud, with abandon? Today? The beginning of this week? The weekend before? I’m actually not sure, off the top of my head. Not that I’m a misery! I’d like to think I’m rather cheerful! 😂
Can you recall when that last, involuntary, bubbling up feeling overtook your body?
For Caleb, interacting playfully ALWAYS comes hand in hand with the sort of laughter that has him gasping for breath!
Things don’t get in the way. He doesn’t care about looks, how popular you are, nor about age, gender, ethnicity, background, sexuality, disabilty … Or any other label you can think of.
Face-to-face with you, Caleb will just accept you, wanting NOTHING MORE than to laugh with you. LOTS.
Tactile and affectionate, he was saying to me only this week, about high school ‘I’ll be friends with anyone Mum. I’m not going to write anyone off, so long as they are nice back to me, and nice to my friends’
I read somewhere recently (unverified!), that babies laugh up to 300 times a day, and yet the happiest adult compares with a vastly lower 20 times a day, and even still – the typical 40-year-old laughs, on average, just three to four times daily.
I’d LOVE to have the capacity, like Caleb, for laughter to override the challenges… wider worries dissolving: The house is a bomb site – The bathroom STILL needs cleaning – I just watched something traumatic on the news, AGAIN. What is WRONG with the world?? – I’m in a rush – People are watching, this is embarrassing, what will they think? – Just had an argument, feeling sad -Got caught in the rain – hair is frizzy – Feeling fat … It’s-been-a-lonnnnnnnng-week...
But for Caleb, laughter is a regular, in-built release, overriding all the negatives and anxieties. What an awesome gift!
Granted, he does rely heavily on his agenda and interests driving play. Caleb’s not remotely convincing in pretending to have fun, if the activity isn’t all that attractive!
And yes. You could argue he lacks some of the subtleties and timing, which more readily connect his peers…
But what I wouldn’t give sometimes, to strip away the sarcasm, synicism, caution and weariness – and just enjoy daily, good ol’ Laurel and Hardy Slap-stick, TRUSTING, fun!
I think one school teacher captures Caleb’s nature beautifully, in a single end of year report paragraph:
Caleb’s enthusiasm for life and the way he throws himself into each day with a smile on his face, and a spring in his step, is purely infectious, leading him to being well liked by adults and peers alike. He’s SUCH a keen, fun-natured learner, full of confidence, always excitable and enthusiastic…and I know he will continue to shine!
Today, compared to your average 11 year old boy – Caleb laughs a LOT. Regardless of any awkwardness! And that makes me VERY happy.
Research identifies laughter at the heart of health and well-being: It basically ‘switches on’ our immune systems; reducing levels of stress hormones, increasing health-enhancing hormones, neurotransmitters, and infection-fighting antibodies; and improving blood flow to the heart—all resulting in greater relaxation and resistance to illness, improved mood, sleep, short term memory, creativity, relationships, and overall positive outlook!
How about you?!
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