Our Journey Raising Two Children with Special Needs

This blog chronicles our life raising two children, Nicholas 14, diagnosed with Prader-Willi Syndrome and Weston 17, diagnosed with Autism/Asperger's/ADHD. It's the ups, the downs, the joys, the sorrows and most importantly, the beauty of living a life less perfect, a life more meaningful.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Clothes Make the Man

It was Mark Twain who said:

"Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society."

For my son Weston, there could be no truer words spoken. He bounded out of bed this morning with his usual flair. But today something was different. Instead of whirling around the kitchen like a white tornado, searching for something or someone to help diffuse his excess energy, today, he came downstairs pealing off his pajama's and wailing,

"Mom, where's my new clothes?"

His eyes alight with young enthusiasm, Weston was ready for his big day.

Most mornings he quickly and carelessly throws on a pair of ripped jeans and a bulky sweatshirt.  But today, he examined his new clothing with a calm and careful purpose. He removed any fluff or errant threads that diminished the beauty of his fine wardrobe. He leaned back and admired his new attire.

Slowly and methodically he began to dress.

First, the new t-shirt and socks. Next, he pulled on the button-down shirt.

"Mom, can you help me?" He asked politely, a far cry from his usual morning exclamations of  "I don't want to brush my teeth!" or "Do I have to go to school?"

He pulled on his new slacks, tucked in his shirt and placed the tie carefully around his neck. He pulled the new black shoes out of their box and slid them on his feet.

"Well," he asked me smiling, "How do I look?"

"You look like a handsome young man," I said.

The new clothes have a soothing effect on Weston and he seems to stand more confidently and just a little bit straighter.

I grab my camera to take his picture and prepare myself for his usual groaning. Instead he stands grandly by the door and asks me...

"Is this OK?"

I snap several pictures without any fuss.

"Wait a minute," he says. "Can I take one with Nicholas?"

Almost instinctively, Weston pulls his little brother close, as if he is absorbing Nick's happy spirit.

It is a indeed a new day.

Weston's usual harried and stressful morning routine of pestering his brother has been replaced with a happy and confident enthusiasm for the day's big event.

As I dropped him off at the middle school, he jumped out of the vehicle, sprang up the steps and charged into the building like it was his first day at a new job.

Whatever the outcome of Weston's interview process, I am very proud of my maturing young man. He faced this new challenge head-on with a happy heart and a curious and eager spirit. It has been a new life experience that will benefit him in his bumpy but bright journey to become a man.

I will let you know how he does.