This is my dad. Isn’t he cute?
He turned 92 in June of this year so, as he likes to say, he’s now “almost 93.” He plans to live into his hundreds. One of the things that keeps him well and active are his puppies. Aside from being an artist, he raises hunting dogs. He always has about thirty dogs (he sells them, breeds them, sells them). Around 3PM every day, he starts cooking (you read right) for his thirty dogs. He makes homemade stew to pour over kibble for all of them with the youngest pups getting extra special food from his kitchen.
When I told my dad that Nate was born, I asked what he’d like to be called and he responded with “Super Grandpa.” My dad lives in Hawaii, and we live in Connecticut, so Nate and my dad have only met once. It’s a long trip (12+ hours each way) and expensive but we keep in touch on the phone and through pictures.
My dad has given his only grandson the nickname of “the little guy.” When he calls, he always asks how The Little Guy is doing. My dad doesn’t fully understand what autism means or what Nate’s school and home environment is like but I can’t blame him. In my dad’s day, autism wasn’t even identified yet and those who would now be classified as autistic were hidden away in institutions. So I do my best to help him understand what we’re going through, though it’s pretty watered down.
As we live away from family, Chad and I always make sure that there are gifts under the tree from those who love him. My dad has no idea what to get a kid but we “buy” things from my dad and put them under the tree. This year, Super Grandpa sent a check in advance and asked that we get something The Little Guy would like. Chad instantly knew what to get: the world’s biggest bean bag.
Nate needs input all the time, which often causes him to hurt himself. He crashes to the ground by jumping from high spots (his latest favorite is jumping from his wee table or regular chairs). A bean bag would give him the crashing input he needs while remaining safe and unbruised. So, last Saturday, Nate’s gal pal Ms. Gwen the RN came over for a play date and Chad and I visited Costco. When we came home, we gave Nate his early present from Super Grandpa. It’s a hit — so much of a hit that Nate learned how to request the bean bag on his iPad after being shown where the word was parked only once.
With this bean bag, Nate’s pretty sure that Super Grandpa just became a little bit more Super.