You don’t really notice the faults and flaws in people who are your friends. Chris is my friend. I came to know Chris while Lisa and I have spent the last two years here in Cambridge, Ohio. Soon Chris and his family will join Lisa and I at Disney World for their first ever trip to the “Happiest Place on Earth”. It will be their first family vacation in over ten years and we are excited to be able to help this very deserving, hard working family to this long awaited trip. Chris is excited too.
Chris and I have made Sunday afternoons our movie time each week through the summer and have enjoyed hanging out while watching the movie of his choice. Fortunately, we have similar tastes in movies. We love animated movies and movies that border on being silly, hokey-jokey films that probably could have been made for TV or even direct to DVD fare. But, that’s OK with me. Sometimes a predictable, campy movie is just what I need to purge my brain of all the bad stuff in the world. Chris doesn’t care that most of the kids in the theater are half his age and can be heard talking and giggling throughout the theater for the entire movie. I love that about him.
Don’t get me wrong – Chris has some quirks. He only drinks diet Coke and demands a bag of buttered popcorn at the movie and he sometimes wants to talk during the show. But, the seven and eight year olds don’t seem to mind him either. Neither do I. He laughs out loud and loudly at parts of the movie that only he finds funny and then wants to repeat the line over and over. I love that about him.
Chris stayed with me all this week at the campground and we spent time swimming, watching movies and eating his favorite meal of plain cheeseburgers and fries with (you guessed it) diet Coke. He is very easy to please. I love that about him.
Chris loves knock-knock jokes, singing Disney songs, pretending to pick his nose to get a rise out of me and then laughing uncontrollably when I teasingly put mustard on his finger to make him stop. He can recite lines from movies and TV commercials and can answer any Disney movie trivia question I throw at him. He loves to change his voice and pretend to be a character I created for him, “Evil Dr. Christoff”. He thinks the name sounds menacing. I love that about him.
Chris is autistic. He will never be able to live on his own and will need a supervised, sheltered work environment his entire life. He will forever talk out loud in movie theaters, want only fries for lunch and every day text me “Good morning, Stevie” and before bed “Good night, Stevie”. And I love that about him.
Chris is my friend. And that is really all that matters.
You need to read 3500 An Autistic Boy’s Ten-Year Romance with Snow White, by Ron Miles.
It tells how Disney really changed an autistic boy. Awesome book!