Friday, May 7, 2010

A Bright Ray Of Sunshine


Sweet Sam captured a shaft of sunlight in this shot, which I only noticed as it came to be processed.  He also caught another..


.. but Jake was having none of it!

I thought maybe the fairies  had hitched a ride with him, (well, we all know he is pure of heart), but then a dear friend of mine (it’s okay, Chewy, I won’t tell anyone who), reminded me of a more ominous, possibly sinister interpretation..   In “The Omen”, photo’s with a shard of light spearing the head, prophesied  imminent death.

Yikes.  Maybe that’s why our Jake-the-wonder-dog is sloping off so sharply to the shade?  Ah well, that’s settled it then, no more jay-walking for me, this week..

Monday was a Bank (Public) Holiday over here, which meant no school for Sam, nor work other than the multitude of chores I’d lined up for him to do at home, for his dad.  There was an added bonus for Sam, because unlike every other school on the island, the ones his sib’s attend doesn’t honour Bank holidays. He was delighted to unexpectedly find he had the pair of us all to himself, for the day.


The local name for this glen is “Molly Quirk’s”, but now I’m regretting telling you that, since some bright spark is bound to ask me why.  I’ve no idea, okay?  Go Google. (If you find out, holler and let me know.)

I confess, being so sorely afflicted with the malady of laziness, I rarely take advantage of our National Glens, I mean, it’s a bit like taking coals to Newcastle, when you already are lucky enough to have your very own glen at the bottom of your garden, isn’t it?  But today was Sam’s day, and as he wanted us to go out for an “explore”, who were we to argue?


And very peaceful and pretty it was, too.
I wish I could say I always listen when Sam speaks to me, but a habit many folk living with autism have, is to talk more “at”, than “to” you.  He has certain fixations he will happily discuss at length, repeatedly, and for as long as the day will stretch.  I tend to tune out a great deal of this - simply inserting the odd nod or yes seems to keep him happy, because most of the time he is more caught up in what he has to say, rather than interested in having an actual two way conversation with anyone.  But he does gain reassurance from my echoing his words back again, a validation that I understand and know that the topic (usually one of three)  is important to him.

Today was different.


My seventeen-cum-seven-year-old waxed lyrical, not in a monotone, but with a genuine excitement to his voice.  He was curious to name each bird, to seek out every wild-flower, and all the while he wore an ear to ear grin plastered all over his face.

Physical contact is very difficult for Sam, he never initiates it, and he generally jerks away should anyone try to touch him.

But look, see?  I have my arm around him, here (insert watery smile).

(At 5’7’’. I am no short-arse, it amazes me how he now towers above me – did I blink, when the hell did all that come about??  On second thoughts, scrub that, I find I’m asking the self same question as to how  I’ve suddenly come to arrive at the grand old age of fifty, too.  Appears time always marches by when you least welcome it.  I am frightened at the prospect of Sam approaching adulthood,  the world is callously unforgiving of a child who is forever destined to be trapped within the body of an adult.)

dad and sam

Sam virtually worships his father, they have a very special bond between them. When Alan is on the island, come rain, hail or shine, once the work day is over, he takes off with Sam for an hour or two.

Alan is so very patient and gentle with him.

They watch the ferry leave port, or visit the Grandstand (the starting point for the T.T. motorbike road racecourse), sometimes they hike up the mountain, or climb down a glen, they often stop off to feed the ducks, or simply call off at the airport, to watch the planes as they take off.

I virtually never go along with them on these jaunts, in truth, I enjoy the break it affords me – Alan plans these little explorations as much for me, as he does for Sam.

Maybe that is why I rarely see Sam this animated and engaged,  and it was such a delight!

We made it Sam’s call where we should eat for lunch.


After a little stroll along the quay-side, trying out the odd table here and there, Sam opted to take us to eat indoors, at a Tex-Mex restaurant.  Once inside, he immediately, gleefully requested a huge, fizzy Pepsi-cola with ice (a rare treat for him).


The waiter here knows us, and he always makes Sam feel very welcome and special.  We ordered a couple of mixed platters to share, which I believe Sam demolished the bulk of (grin). .  No pudding followed.  Sam had an appetite to save..


.. Apparently (according to Sam), this shop serves the bestest ice-cream in the whole, wide world!

So yes, we enjoyed many rays of sunshine on this magical day out, but it was the brightest and best one of all that arrived home with us, and he was just in the nick of time to greet his siblings back, as they piled through the door all fresh, demanding and ravenous again to be fed.

(If you care to read more of  life with Sweet Sam, more posts can be accessed by clicking on the label below.) .


Rock Chef said...

What a great day! Sam certainly looks like he is having a great time.

I know what you mean about the fear of Sam growing older. The daughter that we lost had severe dyspraxia which caused her all sorts of problems and we really worried about what would happen to her when we were gone.

Mickle in NZ said...

What a wonderful day the 3 of you had. I really enjoyed reading about it all and seeing the photos. I'll leave this post with a big smile, although I think Sam's lovely smile is bigger..

So good to read and see all this, dear Shrinky. Sending extra special love and huggles,

Michelle xxxx (Zebby is very busy snoring under his battered blanky)

Chantel said...

Sometimes I think that the most precious souls...the innocent ones that embody the very best that is within the grasp of humanity...are captured in the bodies we see as imperfect.

I am so thrilled this one landed in your soft arms.

Momcat said...

Sam is a special son sent to special parents. It looks like a great day out for the three of you.

SJ said...

Oh enlightened one! Tell me what flavor of ice cream was it!

chewy said...

Hi Shrinky,
A nice day, good company and what a wonderful place to walk about. Thanks for posting the photo of the Glen Map Sign. I like seeing the layout of the land where you were.

What is that sticking in Sam's soft serve?

TechnoBabe said...

When there are a few siblings in a family, it is special to have a day that one child has the day with both mom and dad. The pictures are exceptional. Sam looks so happy and I like the one of you standing next to Sam and like you say, your arm is around him. Very wonderful.

Michelle H. said...

What a wonderful time all of you had! And what great photos you've shared!

~Babs said...

A Sam day,,,,just perfect!
So good to see him, his love all wrapped up in that smile.

secret agent woman said...

That sunbeam seems a perfect symbol for being blessed with a great day with your son. Perfect.

Leslie: said...

So glad you got photos - it's definitely a day to be remembered over and over again. I'm sure Sweet Sam will remind you. He is a great looking young man!

Sling said...

There's nothin' like a fine walkabout shared with loved ones.
Sam looks quite satisfied with his special time together with you and the husband.

Suldog said...

First, you look magnificent for 50. I'm sure, somewhere along the way, you must have mentioned your age before, but I had it in my head that you were about 40 and the photo doesn't belie that misinformed thought. You're still hot, girl.

Second, the smiles from Sam are just plain wonderful. There's some bit of all that is beautiful inside of him, and it shines through when he smiles. Lovely to see.

Matty said...

I personally don't know anyone who has a child with autism. However, I've met many through blogger who do, and I have to admire you and everyone who does, for the patience, love and understanding you have. Looks like he enjoys those trips.

billy pilgrim said...

beautiful photos, spring is truly a magical time of year.

Akelamalu said...

You have your own ray of sunshine in Sam! Wonderful photos Shrinky of what was obviously a great day out for all of you. :)

PS what a handsome son you have.


lovely pictures and i cant remember the last time i ever saw anyone with such an infectious smile as sweet sam..

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Dearest Shrinky, You are indeed beautiful! And Sam is very sweet! Difficult for you to help him negotiate his way in this world, but what a tender day you shared...yes, watery eyes and smile...that about describes me as I read this wonderful post! You are a wonderful mum! We celebrate mother's day here in the U.S. this weekend! I want to wish my dear friend a wonderful weekend especially! If any mum deserves all the happiness in the world, that mum is YOU!!! Love, Janine XO

Fen said...

Shrinky, call me slow, but you're living on the Isle of Man?!? That's where my Mother was born and I have relatives still living there. I spread some of my Mums' ashes on Fenella Beach in Douglas a few years back. Now I recognise your pic. God I'm so DAFT! Ha ha ha ha ha! The last time I was there was 5 years ago now, but I love that little place with all my heart.

Molly Quirk (Quirk being a very Manx name btw) was alleged to have been murdered in that Glen, but as it's a legend no one is quite sure if it's true or not!

Shrinky said...

Hi Rock Chef, that must have been a very hard road that you and your family walked (hugs). Sam has mild dyspraxia, he has difficulty with his fine motor skills, and always looks completely uncoordinated if he tries to run (smile). But he is healthy and strong, something I am eternally grateful for.

Aw, thanks Michelle, give Zebbycat a warm cuddle from me!

Hi Chantel, unlike my other kids, Sam is completely unmaterialistic, he doesn't care about i-pods or designer clothes, it's time spent "doing" with us that makes his day light up. I think he could teach his sib's a great deal, if they would only let him (smile).

Shrinky said...

Hi Momcat, thanks for stopping by. Yes, it was a lovely way to spend a stolen day!

SJ, they sell every flavour under the sun there, but Sam prefers vanilla..

Chewy, soft-serve? We call it a '99 cone, over here (grin)! I'm not surprised you don't recognise the chocolate flake in it - the ones I sent on to you were probably smashed beyond recognition by the time they reached your door! I used to enjoy my coffee stirring it with a flake, I loved it melting in my mouth. Shame I've gone off chocolate now.

Hi TechnoBabe, you are so right about that, individual one on one time is priceless, even if hard to manage. I had a great girlie day with my two daughters a couple of weeks ago - sadly, I can hardly recall when the one before that one was. Time goes so fast, I really need to make more effort to spend it well.

Michelle, what a difference a spot of sunshine makes, eh?

You said it, Bab's (smile)!

Yes, Secret Agent, isn't it just?

Aw, thanks Leslie, and yes, Sam has the memory of an elephant, he is already planning our next meal out..

Hi Sling, yeah, pity my other kids don't share that same view, for instance, if I ask any of them to accompany me on the beach, they usually just laugh and dive for cover!

Jim, have I told you how much I love you (see this happy smile)? You have the perfect knack of virtually always making my day, and for that alone, you have got to be worth your gorgeous weight in gold. Please consider your good self most well and truly hugged!

Hi Matty, none of us are born as the parent of a disabled child, we are all just like everyone else. It took a long time to learn, to adjust, and yes, to accept, that the son I had thought I'd had, would never be the child I had anticipated. It was only after I grieved for that loss, that I was able to fully embrace the beautiful boy I now have.

Isn't that so, Billy?

Funny you should say that Akelamalu, as a baby he was given a large, soft sunflower which he slept with, and it is still with him today (well patched and actually twice replaced now). It has come to be synomonous with who he is, our eternal sunny sunflower, Sam!

I tend to agree with you Jackie (but I confess to being hugely biased)..

Happy MOther's Day, Janine, I hope it is a beautiful day for you (I am almost certain it will prove to be)! We had our Mothering Sunday a couple of months back now, it was especially poignant to me as it may be one of the last times all my children will be around in person to celebrate the day with me. Matt leaves for University this year, and will be a plane ride away from home. The girls will not be long behind him. I am amazed at how quickly the years go by.

OMG Fen, that is just incredible! My God, woman, you are more Manx than me (giggle). Small world, or what? I walk Fenella beach every day!! Thanks for the background info on Molly Quirk's glen, somehow it just adds to the allure of the place. Give me a shout if you are ever back this way!

Jingle said...

what upbeat post!
lovely smiles and nature background.
Happy Mother's Day!

Fen said...

yup, i've got no tail and everything! I've got a British passport, so i'm sure i'll be over at some stage. My cousin is always nagging me to come over, though it's his turn to come over here!

My name comes from Fenella Beach, it was cool to go over there the first time (when i was about 14) and see all the Fenella names floating about. I almost felt famous ;)

Robyn said...

This is a beautiful post to read and especially as it is Mothers Day here in my corner of the world.

Thank you for sharing the love.

best wishes

CMZ Art/ Rustic Goth said...

And a 'ray of sunshine' suddenly made my day a bit brighter!
What a wonderful lovely post...I must go off to read more:)

Joanna Jenkins said...

Your Sweet Same has a wonderful face-- it lights up!

So glad you two got to spend a fun special day together. It sounds like it was a treat for both of you!

Happy Mother's Day!

laughingwolf said...

hi sam, glad you got both parents to yourself for a whole day :D

and happy mothers' day to all you mothers out there!

Shrinky said...

Hi Fen, the funny thing is, I have only known you as Fen, had I realised it was short for Fenella, I would have recognised the Manx name, and asked you about it - I also have a friend over here called Fenella, but I am betting you haven't met anyone else where you are, with the same name as you? This has really tickled me (grin)!

Hi Jingle, thank you. We celebrated Mother's Day a couple of months ago, over here, but in a way, every day is Mother's \day, isn't it?

Hi Robyn, hope you enjoy Mother's Day! Nice to see you back in here, thanks for stopping by.

Aw CMZ, what a lovely thing to say - thanks for that (grin)!

Hi JJ, it's as I said to Alan on Monday, nature is the greatest free show on earth, it's the best de-stress pill any of us can pop, isn't it?

Hello Laughingwolf, Sam says thanks, he can't wait to get back to the ice-cream shop again.. (wink)

covnitkepr1 said...

I’ve enjoyed looking over your blog. I came across it through another blog I follow, and I’m glad I did. I am now a follower of yours as well. Feel free to look over my blog and perhaps become one as well.

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Just to give you my love...and a big hug! I'm so thankful to be able to call such a talented and loving lady--You--my friend! ~Janine XOXO

Shrinky said...

covnetkepr1, thanks for stopping by.

Hello Janine, what a lovely start to my morning ((hugs)) - I love knowing I have such a valued and dear friend, you are such a joy!

Kristina Hughes said...

Those are the kind of days that make you want to hold your breath and make the magic last forever. There's nothing better than seeing our autistic offspring smiling and Sam's smile is just beautiful. If only we could slow down the world for them more often to let the sun rays into their lives. So special - thanks for writing that all down so beautifully. We're a few years behind, but I've said it before and I'll say it again: Shrinky, you're a total inspiration. Really. Am glad I found you xxxxx

Realliveman said...

What a great day!! Awesome pictures!

deb said...

Your Sam just melted my heart with his pure bliss.
He must be well loved.

Thank for sharing this, and I will spend more time here getting to know more of all of your stories.

love the ray of light. how fitting.

Shrinky said...

Oh Kristina, I am so glad you stopped by, I have just called over to read your latest post, and it touched so many memories for me! I am also so pleased we managed to trip over each other in here,I truly feel a connection with you and your dear family - it's almost like seeing myself with mine again, just a few years back ((x))!

Shrinky said...

Hi Realiveman, yes, summer brings along the best of days, doesn't it?

Hi there Deb, Sam does have this kind of way of lighting up a room when he smiles (grin), and it's so lovely when he does.

PRH....... said...

As the parent of a 'special needs' child...your stork warmed my day Shrinky.

Keep up the good work as a writer and and of course, as a parent.

PRH....... said...


I think I meant STORY!!!!! The Stork days are long past for us.... :)

Shrinky said...

Hahahaha, Oh Pat, I thought you were trying to tell me something, there (wink)! Too funny, and 'tween you and me, I also have to confess, there will be no more "stork" deliveries at our door, either - those days are LONG gone!

Mushy said...

As Sully would say, this was "more good stuff!" Enjoyed the photos too!

Shrinky said...

Hi Mushy, yup, a fine time was had by all (grin)!

Skunkfeathers said...

From the glen to pizza 'n cream!
There are worse ways to spend a day than what you just shared ;)

Shrinky said...

Sure is Skunk, it's days like these that make you so glad to be alive!

Sunshine said...

Sam is having lots of fun and i had a fun reading it.. was so cool looking at the picture, they sure do have a great bond between them.
Love the post

Shrinky said...

Hi Sunshine, nice to see you again!

Scott from Oregon said...

I was checking back to see if you recieved a lightning rod fallen off a rooftop through your skull yet?

Putz said...

if you really must know, i love all things british, especially english and there is a differeance and i love the way you write so i might visit occassionally a, oh and i love jinksy when whe writes about hippos and you with your pants down, when you featured a hippo, too

Shrinky said...

Luckily Scott, with a skull as thick as mine, even if it did, I probably wouldn't notice..

Hi Putz, I see you are planning a party soon for you 500th post, I'll be sure to come and bring a bottle!

Hilary said...

Your Sweet Sam looks so happy. His face radiates that same ray of sunshine. I'm glad that all of you had such a wonderful day. Hugs to you. :)

Anna said...

Beautiful post Shrinky, Sam looks like great and happy boy. Glad you enjoy your day, children are precious, and so he is. Anna :)

Shrinky said...

Hi Hilary, it's the little things that makes Sam happy - his birthday is coming up soon, the only present he is set on is chocolate, and LOT'S AND LOT'S of it please (grin)..

Hello Anna, yes, he is our sweetest child. Funny how four children can all be made to the same recipe, yet all turn out so beautifully different!

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Hi, Shrinky! Just stopping in to hang out midweek with my friend! Hope you are well! Love you! Janine XO

B.T.Bear (esq.) said...

Grayte fotoes!
(Grayte ice creem!)

Shrinky said...

Hey Janine, that's perfect timing - I've just put the kettle on (grin),come and sit yourself down, and tell me all about your week..!

Hi there Bob, how lovely to see you again (nose hugs)! Shame I can't send you this ice cream in the post.. giggle.

The Blue Zoo said...

Oh I love all the pitures!! It really looks like you guys had a great time. Thank you so much for sharing your day!

Phivos Nicolaides said...

Beautiful pictures and lovely moments!

Jingle said...

Happy Monday!
Friendship tags 4 u.
I enjoyed your company!

Land of shimp said...

Oh, Shrinky. First of all, you look marvelous! What a nice photograph, photographs, actually.

I'm so glad you had a lovely day, and that you got to spend such a nice day together.

Every now and then I catch myself wishing that my son was still little. That I could simply tell him what to do, and he'd do it. No long discussions, no consideration of his being self-directed, having his own schedule, just ...less negotiation more compliance.

I forget that I am living a dream for many, who wish only that their children could grow up, become autonomous, and have the full world available to them, just a series of choices away.

Thanks for the reminder, and for sharing the story.

jay said...

Aw ... what a sweetheart Sam is! In fact what a sweet family you all are.

Your post should remind us all what deep pleasure there is to be had in simple things, things to be found on our own doorstep. The grin on Sam's face is priceless. :)

Shrinky said...

Aw, cheers Jay, you are so right of course, it's how you spend time, not money, that really counts, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Very creative,I like it.