Easter Sunday was quiet at our house. We don't visit family or friends, we don't go out to dinner. Janey can't be around younger kids much, due to her aggression at times, travel to far flung loved ones is tough, and eating out...well, it's not worth spending a good deal of money to rush a meal, waiting for the meltdown. So we stay home. And truthfully, it's okay. We are loners a bit. But this year, both Tony and I were feeling a little emotional about our Easter. It took us until about halfway through the day to realize it was the first year with neither boy home. Our family felt small.
Janey was in a good mood all day, though. We had fun early in the day taking a long ride into the city. We love early Sunday rides, with little traffic. Boston is a great city, when you take away the traffic nightmares, and we enjoyed driving through some neighbors, like the Little Italy of Boston, the North End, that we don't often see. We all had some chocolate (Janey's early in the day, to prevent non-sleep!) from huge chocolate eggs that Uncle Pino gave us, and Tony got some of our favorite Gimbel's jelly beans. It was a fine day, but I was still feeling low.
We aren't very religious, but I certainly wouldn't mind going to church on Easter. We haven't found a church, though, that we can go to with Janey. We want church to be a family thing, like it was with our beloved Hyde Park Congregational Church that shut down when Janey was two. But there is no way on this earth Janey could be at a service, and there is also no way she could attend Sunday School without someone one on one with her. So, we don't go to church, and that feels a little funny on Easter too.
Looking at Facebook during the day, I of course saw many pictures of kids at Easter gatherings. I didn't make up an Easter basket for Janey, because she has never had any interest at all in that (or stockings) and because we would end up eating all the candy she didn't want, or she would end up eating chocolate bunnies and not sleeping for a week. But I decided I wanted to take pictures of Janey for Easter. I love taking pictures, especially of Janey. I got out my iPad and used the Hipstamatic app, which has all kinds of virtual lenses and film that it picks at random each time you take a picture. I adore it. I took about a hundred pictures of Janey, to see what got picked and how they came out.
While I was in the middle of taking pictures, suddenly and unexpectedly, Janey began to sing. She often sings a few lines of songs, but it's rare she sings the whole song, although she knows many by heart. This time, however, she did. She sang "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas", the whole song, in her otherworldly high and perfect singing voice.
I try hard on this blog to portray autism honestly. Autism isn't a series of miracles, a savant hidden in an unexpected place, a innocent showing us all the way. But in every child's life, including Janey's, there are a few moments that take the breath of parents away. Janey's singing yesterday was one of them. As she sang "Through the years, we all will be together, if the fates allow...", I cried. And held her close. She had sung the song, that, if not seasonal, most perfectly captured the mood I had been feeling all day. For that moment, our troubles were indeed far, far away.