asd · aspergers · autism · christianity · family time · HFA · Parenting

The Family Dinner Table

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When D was born, a dear friend gave me a collection of books. I have flipped through those books at various times over the years and thought about getting rid of them, but never could make myself. Recently I opened one of the books called “Table Talk”. The book is a series of questions on various topics. In addition to the regular questions, there are also questions for younger members of the family and follow up questions to keep the conversation going. Finally, there is also a Bible verse that coincides with the question. 
We started using the book tonight. I read the question a few times, but could not decide for sure that any of my kids would be able to answer the regular question. I started with D and Spike, but did not include Pouty. After a few minutes, she asked, “Mommy, aren’t you going to ask me?” She also enjoyed joining in the conversation, it was great! 
Tell us someone who is important to you or that you love very much. What makes that person important to you?

Spike said that she liked Carly from iCarly because she is funny. 
Pouty said that Samoo is important to her because he gives her hugs and she loves him. 
D said that Luke Skywalker is important because he killed Darth Vader. I asked him why that was important and he said, “Well, because Darth Vader was trying to kill Luke’s sister.” I asked if he would protect his sisters or if he would fight someone who was trying to hurt them. He said he was not sure, but that he would try. That is good enough for me!
I told the kids that Daddy (Chad) is important to me because he has a job that allows me (while not easily) to stay home so I can make muffins and oatmeal for breakfast, snack after school, and dinner. D said, “You said Daddy because you love him more than us.” 
We talked a few minutes about how I do not love him more, just differently. The question asked for only one person and so I chose him because he allows me to be home with the children that I love immeasurably. Then D said, “I know someone you love more than you love us…God.” 
I carefully chose my words and explained that yes, I do love God more than them, but I love God more than them because He made them. I love God more than them because He created the world we live in and gave me all of the blessings, primarily them and Chad, that I have. 
This is where the conversation took an awesome turn…

D asked, “Mommy, what does it mean when someone says that you go to Heaven when you die? How can you go to Heaven if God does not come on earth and get you?” 
I replied with, “Well, God takes your soul to Heaven when you die. Your whole body does not go to Heaven…” (How do you explain to a child with Autism that you have a soul and your soul is not the same thing as your body?)
D: Mommy, what’s your soul?
Me: Well, the soul is the part of your heart where you know if you are doing right or wrong. It’s the part of your heart where God lives and where you feel good and bad about life. It’s the part of your heart where you have love.
D: So just your soul goes to Heaven? What does it look like?
Me: Well, I think it looks like you do, but it’s not really your body, it just looks like it …
D: Mommy, is Memaw’s soul in Heaven? Like she’s walking around up there?
Me: Yep, she is … 
D: Is everything free in Heaven? (He is a 9yo boy…)
Me: Well, I guess … God has mansions in Heaven for us … we will walk on streets of gold, live in big mansions, have all the food we can eat, and lots of the things we loved on earth. We’ll mostly worship God, though.
D: So, God will have legos in my mansion?
Me: Yeah, I think so … 
D: I can’t wait til I die and go to Heaven! 
Me: D, only God can decide when you die. God decides when we are born and when we die … we can’t do things that would make us die before God is ready. (He recently made a threat, so I had to cover myself.)
D: I know, Mommy! I just can’t wait til I’m 99 years old when God comes to get me. Mommy, what happens if you go down there? (pointing towards the floor)
Me: You burn … 
D was done with the conversation at that point, but just before bed he picked it up out of the blue … 
D: So, Memaw is walkinng around in Heaven, doing fun stuff in her mansion?
Me: Yes…
D: So, if you go to hell, what is it like?
Me: Hotter than when Annakin fell in the lava … and Satan tortures you all the time.
D: I’m glad I’m going to Heaven, but … Mommy, will I be able to find you when I get there? 
Me: Yes! Yes, you’ll be able to find me.
Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always be kind to each other and to everyone else. I Thessalonians 5:12-15
You know, life with him is rarely easy, but the moments like this remind me what an amazing child he is and that God loves him. It also made me feel good to know he has listened over the years. (I didn’t mention, he said he is mad at Adam and Eve for eating the apple because now we all act bad and have consequences.) I praise God for my precious D and pray that I remember to always respect him, be patient with him, and ensure that I am always kind to him and he is kind to others. 


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