Bossy tells me I’m getting too depressing with all this talk about Autism so I thought I’d give you another baby story. So it was 1988. Bossy had just turned four and the Gym Rat was nearing two. We graduated from the university in the spring and then it was time to find jobs. My sweetie is in engineering, but there were few jobs and many candidates. I was going to be an amazing writer…but I settled for a technical writer when they offered me a pretty good position (as long as I didn’t mind working around all the toxic chemicals at the army depot). I was even issued a gas mask! I worked for a government contractor, so I worked four ten-hour days with an hour commute each way. My sweetie finally landed a consulting job and he was able to work as many hours as he could possibly stand. We put our little ones in day care with a relative and it was off to work we go.
The summer passed and the leaves changed. As we worked like crazy and prepared our home and family for the holidays, the delicious smells didn’t have the normal affect on me. In fact, they made me downright nauseous. I didn’t dare hope, so I gritted my teeth and told myself that it wasn’t morning sickness after all. Since we were apart most of the time with our crazy work schedules, my sweetie didn’t suspect anything. About the 20th of December, I could no longer deny the regularity of my morning flu. I made an appointment with the doctor for a Friday afternoon and I chose not to say anything to my dear husband. My suspicions were confirmed. Our little one was due the latter part of July. I was so excited! By the time I got home from the doctor’s office, I had formed a fantastic plan. But first I had to go to the store. I needed to buy some Christmas stockings.
The next three days were endless. I was nearly bursting with my secret. I couldn’t look my husband square in the eye, and he was sure that I was angry with him for some unknown discretion. Finally, Christmas Eve arrived. We got the kids to bed early and we slipped into bed. My sweetie was tired. He’d worked a long week and he needed a good rest. I listened to his breathing until I was sure that he was asleep, then I climbed out of bed and crept down the stairs. In the light from the Christmas tree, I tiptoed to the fireplace and placed a small gift in the toe of his stocking. My package delivered, I quickly retraced my steps and slid between the sheets. His even breathing testified of his ignorance of my journey. I willed myself to sleep, and after much tossing and turning, and a little nausea, I finally dozed off.
Christmas morning dawned bright and early for the kids. Bossy and the Gym Rat were up with the sun and were soon jumping on our bed. Their anxious little bodies were insistent, so we gave up and rolled out. After all, I was just as excited. Finally, I’d get to tell my secret. At our house, tradition required that we had to look through our stockings first. We’d always find an orange, candy, and a few small gifts. Generally, these gifts were not that exciting; we might get gloves, a movie, or underwear. This year I scooped up the stockings with a vengeance. "Hasn’t Santa been generous this year?" I prompted. "Yes!" shouted the kids.
My sweetie rubbed the sleep from his eyes and finished setting up the video camera. "Are we ready?" he questioned. "Of course," I smiled, "Here’s your stocking." I passed the bulging stocking to him and positioned myself so that I could watch as he opened his gifts. He slowly pulled oranges and miniature chocolate bars from the top of the stocking. A box of orange sticks followed, then a couple of apples. I squirmed impatiently. "What did you get, Dear?" Just dump it out, I thought to myself. He finally reached his hand into the toe of the stocking. He gave me a puzzled look and I smiled innocently. "What’s this?" He pulled out the colorful package and carefully unwrapped a tiny pair of yellow stockings. I watched his stare of confusion as he turned the stockings over and over in his large hands. Slowly, recognition dawned and his gaze was replaced with an over-sized grin. He pulled me into his arms. My secret was out, and it was definitely worth the wait. These were the best Christmas stockings ever.
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