Walking the Turtle

Walking the TurtleLast weekend was my mom’s birthday – a BIG birthday, but I won’t say anything more than that…

Rather than throw a party for her – limelight is not her style – we decided to gather letters from her family and friends. We sent out notecards, asked people to share their favorite Deb-isms, and compiled them all in this (super cute) album. Oddly pinterest-esque for me, but very meaningful for my mom who cherishes her relationships above all else.

Of course, we knew my brother would have a good story or two, and we really wanted him to participate – it would mean so much to my mom. But you never know with Jon…

When we addressed a ‘mom notecard’ to him a few weeks ago, I just wasn’t sure what we would get back, if anything at all. There were a lot of steps involved – including coming up with a story, writing it down (fine motor skills are hard for Jon), and sticking it back in the mail. Any one of these steps could derail the entire process.

A few days after mailing his envelope, I debated making a follow-up phone call – then decided against it. I figured if I tried to encourage him to complete the notecard, it’d all be over. Jon’s never been good at ‘taking orders’ from other people (family genetics, not autism!), so a little sisterly input wasn’t going to help. And I also wanted to see if Jon could do this on his own.

To my amazement, not only did we get a card back, but his was the first one we got back! And while most notecards included thoughtful, caring comments, Jon’s was just funny and honest. This is what he wrote:

I remember my mom let me get a turtle named Michael. I took Michael outside for a walk and lost him. Another day my mom found him in the yard when she was mowing. It was so funny. I laughed so hard I cried.

                                                                                                 Love,

                                                                                                Jon Hench

For me, this was an amazing snapshot into Jon’s brain. Now that he’s mentioned it, I also remember the day that my mom found the turtle. Her reaction was hilarious – over-the-top drama coupled with a bit of shrieking, just to make Jon laugh. And clearly, it worked. What a lasting memory for him and what a good reminder for me – you just never know when a simple moment is going to be a lasting memory.

*As a sidenote, this was one of three turtles, each named Michael, that Jon had as a child. He managed to lose each in a very unique way, and we believe that at least 2 of the 3 are now living a very posh life in the woods next to our house…

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