Tuesday, June 2, 2015

I Want To Talk to Grandpa Mike

Last Christmas, my family and I drove back to Maryland for the holidays. Since my mom had just entered a skilled nursing facility a few weeks before, we stayed with my dad because I didn't want him to be alone.  Lauren and my dad share a love of  history, so they always have something to chat about. My dad and my stepson have known each other for more than 24 years, so they can always talk "guy" stuff.  It's been a bit more challenging though for Dominic to have a close relationship with my dad. One of the times when my dad visited us here in Michigan, Dominic did something my dad didn't like and he tried to discipline Dominic. I let my dad know right away that it was up to my husband or I to take care of that. My dad later apologized to me. On another occasion while at my parents house, Dominic starting playing around with the cuckoo clock that is in their living room. No matter how many times I told Dominic to stay away from it, he wouldn't listen. My dad would follow Dominic around to make sure he didn't touch it. It got to be kind of uncomfortable. I wish it was as easy as handing my father a "manual" on how to have a relationship with a grandchild with Autism. Since Dominic was just a baby when his other grandfather passed away, I really want my dad and Dominic to "learn" from each other, even though there is 70 years between them.  During the summer of last year, when we visited, my dad raised his voice very loud when Dominic was around. Every time since then, when he has seen my dad, he will go over to my dad and say, "hi, Pop-Pop," but then cover his ears and hum at him. Dominic is extremely sensitive to loud noises and I think every time he saw my dad he thought my dad would raise his voice again.  I think my dad was beginning to get annoyed with Dominic, until I explained to him the reason why he would cover his ears. Since the beginning of the year, I started calling both my mom and my dad every evening to keep up with what is going on with the both of them.  It's been a difficult adjustment for both of my parents, given that they have been married for almost 53 years. I call my dad shortly after dinner, about 8 p.m., every night and I go into the living room where it is quieter. I know my dad looks forward to my calls and we always "compare" notes on what is going on with my mom, since I am not always able to get a ahold of her.  A few weeks ago, when Dominic heard me talking to my dad, he came over out of the blue and said, "I want to talk to Grandpa Mike!" Pretty darn cool. He now talks to "Grandpa Mike" pretty much every evening. They both have so much that they can "teach" each other and I can't wait to see how their relationship grows and develops!!

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