Something unexpected happened while we were in Israel recently. We were having a Passover Seder in a banquet hall with several other families from our Jewish day school. There was a lull in the evening as people were eating and going back and forth to the buffet. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed my sixteen-year-old son with special needs sitting on a sofa talking to someone. Not just a family member or a family friend, but a girl, and a teenage girl at that. A lovely younger sister of my older son’s classmates, with health challenges and issues of her own. What struck me was that they actually seemed to be engaged in conversation – something that is generally difficult for my son to sustain.
It was so adorable – it almost made me weep.
“What’d you talk about?” his siblings and I grilled him afterwards.
“We actually had a lot in common,” he said matter of factly. “We talked about tv and movies.” Ah, that made sense as these are some of his favorite things to discuss.
Still, I was touched at the sweetness of the interaction which allowed me to see my son in a different light – as a young man with the possibility of courtship. I felt as if I was channeling my mother and grandmother when I described what, to me, was a momentous event to my friends…”It was just darling,” I gushed.
The evening passed and the moment faded into a warm memory. Until I received an email from the young lady’s mother saying that her daughter wanted to go see a movie with my son. Be still my heart! I was elated. His life is rich with family, family friends, friendly professionals, and lovely volunteers. But it is rare that he gets invited to do something socially with a good old-fashioned friend.
“I want to go,” he eagerly stated.
“Do you know how to behave like a gentleman?” I joked with him.
He assured me that yes, he did. I was giddy with anticipation of the big “date,” although my son did not like to be teased about it and of course viewed it for what it was – going to the movies with a friend, who happens to be a girl. I showed restraint around him, spilling over with excitement to my sister, father and girlfriends.
It turned out to be a lovely, uneventful outing. After their dads helped buy the tickets, the two friends sat and watched a movie while happily munching on popcorn. Truth be told, my son hogged the popcorn, his companion reported when we picked them up.
“It was just so delicious,” he sheepishly admitted.
So much for his gentlemanly behavior. He acted like a typical teenager – rather than being thoroughly annoyed by this fact, I was overjoyed. Next time we’ll spring for the jumbo tub of popcorn. I can’t wait.
Love this post Susan!! It really made me smile and go awww!
Thank you for sharing this lovely post. It made my heart skip a beat.
Aww Benjamin……I am “qvelling” over my great-nephew with much love! xxx xxx
just kvelling for you!
After reading this and tearing up, I need to go hunt some wild game with my bare hands to feel like a man again.
I love this!! Brought tears to my eyes!!
Marnee Bloomfield 732-768-0142
This brought me so much joy to read! My heart is bursting!
Beautiful, Susan. Absolutely touching.
loooooove this story!!!! I can’t believe you didn’t sit a few rows behind them and just watch….or did you? I know I would have tried. 🙂
This was a delight to read, Susan. You write beautifully. Thank you! Warmly, Amy Sent from my iPhone
I have nothing new to add to what has already been said but, couldn’t not respond. I hope you can read this as it’s difficult to type with these tears in my eyes.
So sweet! Maybe next time she should hold the popcorn!
So happy for you all, and hoping for the same normalcy for all teens with disabilities, especially my own!
Wonderful! Made me tear up as well. So happy for Benjamin!
Well Ms. Stillman you have succeeded in making my day! Well done – perfection!