This Christmas we all saw some wonderful changes in Kevin during our visits with family.
When we visit with my family (8 adults and 6 kids) all 14 of us are usually together because we are the only ones that don’t live nearby. Sometimes I get some mixed emotions during our visits because I love to be there and see my nieces and nephews but I also feel a little sad when Kevin excludes himself by going off by himself or standing at a light switch or ceiling fan switch to entertain himself. But this year, he did not spend as much time by the switches and he seemed to be hanging around more with his cousins and the rest of the family. I saw him sitting with my Mom on the couch and some of the other cousins, not needing anything like photo books to keep him there. I saw him tickling his 9 year old cousin, Ryan at the table and being wrestled by his 3 your old cousin, Daniel who seems to make him laugh the most. Even when we visited Jon’s family there was more interaction with his Aunt and Uncle than we have ever seen by sitting on their laps and spinning around a room.
One of my favorite stories from our visit is when the cousins were having a graham cracker snack with some sunbutter. (Note: Kevin has many food allergies; one being the wheat in graham crackers and peanuts in peanut butter, so sunbutter is a great alternative since it is made out of sunflower seeds and tastes great.) A sandwich was made out of the graham crackers and sunbutter and was sitting on the counter. Kevin walked up to the counter and looked at it, I watched to make sure he wouldn't touch it, and offered him a fruit snack instead. He refused the fruit...this is very unusual for Kevin to turn down fruit of any kind. So I thought maybe he was hungry for dinner instead. So I began preparing his meal, but he began giving me signs that he did not want that either. Finally, he picked up the sunbutter jar and brought it to me and I about cried with happiness. I was more than happy to give him a sunbutter snack with apples. I found this so fascinating because he wanted to be included with what the cousins were eating but he knew that he could not have the graham crackers but that he could have the sunbutter. What a good boy!
Another Christmas miracle was when Kevin pooped 9 days in a row, even during the holiday traveling. This is a big deal! Kevin has been struggling with digestion issues for years, we have been trying to find some kind of balance for him and this was a poop marathon for him. Not the typical Christmas gift most parents hope to receive from their kids but it works for us!
These wonderful changes that our family got to witness in Kevin, especially when he included himself, made me relax and enjoy my visit as well. I feel so proud when not only I but our family as well can see these changes in Kevin that we work so hard on in our daily program that the Family Hope Center provides us with. It keeps my hope strong!