The Finer Things in Life (#499)

“The bar soap is under the sink,” I said yesterday over the phone to Jim, who was overseeing a shower for Charlie. “Left, on the left……” I added, visualizing a stack of small snow-white bars in their boxes.
So I was rather surprised later to see turquoise-colored soap chips on the shower tiles. A glance up to the soap dish revealed a big bar of lemony smelling soap, still glistening from Charlie’s shower.

“That was all I could find,” said Jim, then added, “he liked it a lot.”

“It” being an over-priced, nicely scented, big blue beauty-product bar of soap that had been a present and that I was kind of saving for, oh I don’t know, maybe a really awful day when the smallest luxuries mean a lot.

Leave it to Charlie to like the designer soap instead of supermarket stuff, though he does like his fried junk food as much as the next kid (or next anybody……..who can’t like crispy greasy fried items…..). This is the boy whose favorite food is sushi. And why should he not get to use the best soap? Taste the finer things in life?

More often, for a disabled child like Charlie who bears rather the scent of MR, it is the leftovers, the classroom at the end of the corridor that used to be a storage space, the furniture someone “donated” from their basement, the stuff already picked over by those quicker of hand and eye. This is not the case for Charlie in his new school district. His classroom is large, well-lit, and well-supplied (with well-trained teachers, most of all); even the bus driver, with her carefully chosen words said slow and clear and her steady enthusiam (“come right on up, Char-lie!”) seems well-versed in the ways of Autismland.

Timothy Shriver, the CEO of the Special Olympics who gave the Opening Address at the October 27th Autism and Advocacy Conference, noted the famous line that “to those whom much is given, much is expected.” As a disabled child, Charlie is most often thought as on the receiving end of others’ help, as one who, not being “given” certain things, ought to have things given to him.

And while this is so, it also seems to me that there is plenty that Charlie can give himself, can teach we who do our best to teach him.

After all the excitement of yet another Halloween—and not being able to fall asleep last night after trekking through neighbors’ yards and sneaking too much candy—Charlie had a volatile afternoon. He started his ABA session calling to go to his desk (“match! match! wisssh one….”) and then, out of the blue, started yelling “Barney! Teletubbies! Baby Bop BJ!” and rolling on the lawn. His ABA therapist sat with him and, after getting him back inside, directed him to do his activity schedule and the familiar routine of finding toys and markers and games soothed Charlie. At the store—-we were entirely out of lunchbox items—Charlie assented to my choice of sushi and then shared a good part of it with me. He stood at my elbow as I sliced a watermelon for him and then soaped himself up in the shower with the big blue bar of soap before falling asleep before 9pm.

Lucky I am to get to enjoy my favorite luxury in life—-a day with Charlie.

4 Responses to “The Finer Things in Life (#499)”
  1. A toast to the finer things in life… Charlie. He so deserves it! Kudos for blue soap…sorry Kristina, but maybe that means an outing by yourself for “you time” and to buy you some more, you deserve it too!!

  2. MommyGuilt says:

    Oh yes….I know that feeling, those feelings well. I agree, I think that definitely calls for some Mom time – hot bath time after sneaking away for a bar of soap. God, doesn’t that sound like you’re skulking off to go hit the tavern without anyone knowing? LOL

    Hugs to Charlie!!!!!

  3. mom-nos says:

    I think often about something you wrote previously that is related to the point you make here. It was about children with disabilities having to settle for the “leftovers.” You said that you make it a point to avoid sending Charlie to school in sweatpants or socks with holes in them or that sort of thing. I thought about it recently as I put Bud’s Halloween costume together. His magician’s top hat was a bit battered and warped, and there were holes on the edges held together with electrical tape. So instead of saying “good enough” and sending him to his school Halloween party with a costume made of “leftovers,” we splurged and spent the $10 to get a new top hat. It was worth every penny, and then some.

    So here’s to the finer things. And, I have to say, this blog is one of the finer things in my world!

  4. And to get to write in such fine company is a great, great gift!

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