Last night Dan and I were in the kitchen catching up when we both stopped mid-sentence, “What’s that sound?”
We’ve all been asking that question a lot over the last week. We listened again and quickly realize that it was Jack. We could hear him clearly from three rooms away. It’s nothing short of magic to hear our son. Thank you TruTV!
For everyone who is under the impression that our family is always doing cool, innovated, exciting things all the time – I hate to disappoint you, but you’re sorely mistaken. Most afternoons Jack climbs off the school bus happy, but exhausted. He has a snack and some water through his G-tube and settles down on a pee matt in front of the TV in the den. He watches TV for hours. I always thought parents that allowed such things were lazy, but it’s become part of our routine. It gives Jack a break after his long day of school adventures and it allows whoever is in charge to get stuff done.
Jack is pretty easy to please and for years he has seemed happy enough with the old standby shows on TeenNick or Disney, but lately he’s seemed a little bored. Everyone’s taste changes over time. Sometimes we forget that despite Jack’s challenges he is still maturing and it occurred to us that he might not be into the preteen selections we were forcing on him. So, last weekend I was hanging out with Jack wandering around the Fios guide in search of a good alternative. We stumbled on a channel called TruTV. Loving anything “reality”, I clicked to see what was on.
If Bravo was created for middle-age housewives, TruTV was created for teenage boys and anyone who appreciates teenage boy humor (this includes our entire family). The schedule seems to be rather limited in their content, but Jack doesn’t seem to mind – it’s all new to him. It’s inappropriate and ridiculous and Jack loves every second of what’s on. We haven’t heard him laugh this hard since we spent time with Uncle Pat this summer.
I often use the word silent to describe Jack. It’s mostly true – he doesn’t speak a word or hum or cry out. He can’t yell if he needs us or make even a simple sound on command. It’s hard to really appreciate his silence unless you spend time with him. By far, it’s the hardest part of life with ALD.
Luckily, one sound that ALD did not steal is Jack’s laugh. It’s spontaneous and honest and loud – almost primal. And, Jack has always been generous with sharing it with us. When something resinates with Jack, laughter pours out of him. His new channel might not be a great at Uncle Pat’s stories, but it’s pretty darn awesome!