Thursday, February 8, 2018

First Game of Hide and Seek

I am a crying heap of messy joy filled tears this evening. Lily, our 11 year old daughter was a bundle of ridiculous energy when she got home from school today. I could hardly entertain her enough.  We moved from homework to dinner to doll house to books to the longest bath ever. When she finished we searched for curlers and couldn't find them so I combed her hair all the way through and promised a pretty braid before school in the morning. She helped me put away a load of laundry as I helped Zach in the shower.

Zach is our 6'2" giant of 14 year old man sized child.  He overwhelms many with his large close talking personality, but many just can't help to be drawn to him. Zach has Autism and even so, loves fiercely, enjoys tight hugs and many a high fives within his treasured circle.  He was so excited about his pretzel he drew in art class today and he said he is going to attempt to draw cookies and milk tomorrow.

Lily has long believed that the days of playing with her brother have passed.  When she was tiny, it hurt her heart that her brother usually didn't want to play with her.  She came to understand that if she didn't overwhelm Zach with words and played near him, they could parallel play for hours. No, they have never really played games together or sports outside. But they do enjoy swimming together, walking together and occasionally reading together.

Tonight as I exited the bathroom after placing fresh towels I removed from a laundry basket, I heard Lily counting. "16, 17, 18, 19, 20! Ready or not here I come!" She squealed with glee as she raced into my bedroom in search of her big brother.  My heart was in my chest. The tears came quickly. She met my eye and I fell in love with the excited look on her face.  This is what she was waiting for.  This very first game of Hide and Seek. At the ages of 11 and 14, my daughter and son played Hide and Seek tonight. Over and over they took turns hiding and seeking and laughing and exclaiming, "You found me!"  I wiped tear after tear as I shared in my daughters joy.

We laughed together as we whispered.  When children are young, they often believe that if they can't see you, you can't see them. Zach still believes this.  Lily found him once in the closet with his head facing the wall under my dresses and dress pants with his long legs completely exposed in the walkway. Another time, she found him my dark master bathroom, kneeling backwards on the toilet facing the wall.  She praised him over and over. "What a good hiding place, Zach!"  "You are so good at this game!"  "I love playing Hide and Seek with Zach! Great Job!"

Lily gets it. Tonight, playing their very first game of Hide and Seek, she got it. She didn't tell him he was playing wrong, needed to find better hiding places or try to teach him new rules that he may not understand. She met him where he was at.  She knew he wanted to play, and played the game the only way he knew how. Quickly and continually praising him.

My mom heart is full. So full it could burst.  While most parents are helping their high school kids register for next years classes and activities, I am experiencing the joy of my children playing well together and enjoying each others company. And for tonight, and maybe the rest of February, that is enough for me.

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