Home > In Their Own Words > Sound of a Sunset

Sound of a Sunset

Big Daddy brings his unique view of fatherhood, and the world at large, to life on this frequently updated and hilarious blog. His tales and cartoons from the lighter side of raising a child with autism always spark laughter and plenty of comments. By telling funny and off-beat stories from his life, Big Daddy shows that raising a kid with special needs is not all doom and gloom. To the contrary, it can be quite humorous and inspirational. You can read the original posting, ‘Sound of a Sunset,’ here.

Griffin makes a lot of noise.  No. I mean A LOT of noise.  If he is not sleeping there are always loud sounds emanating from him.  We have the maniacal laugh and other verbal stims.  There is the sound of him slapping his torso for hours on end.  Most of all there are the questions.  If he weren’t so cute I would swear the relentless questioning is some sort of KGB plot to drive me insane.

Sometimes, I want to tattoo, “Yes.  I like elevators and Wilford is awesome,” on my forehead to at least cut out 15% of the questions I get every hour.  “No.  We are not moving,”  and “To the bathroom.  I am going to the bathroom,” would eliminate about another 9%.

Considering the relentless noise, when Griffin is quiet we get nervous.  It sneaks up on you.  Like the other evening when Mrs. Big Daddy and Lil Sis were out and the boys were left at home.  I was doing a crossword and heard Griffin go to the kitchen with the stated purpose of getting a drink of water.  I heard him fill his cup and then …. nothing.  For about 45 seconds I heard nothing.  He had not left the kitchen.  He wasn’t giggling.  I got no questions.  Silence.

I went to the kitchen to investigate and there stood Griffin, staring out the window at a magnificent sunset.  He turned to me, as lucid and “in our world” as I’ve ever seen him and said,

“Daddy.  That’s a beautiful sunset.”

It was, without a doubt, the most beautiful sunset I had ever seen.  Before I could answer him, Griffin was off to his room to start giggling and, I’m sure, to think of new ways to ask me the same questions I’ve already answered thousands of times.  In the meantime, I stood in the kitchen, crying, for what seemed to be an hour.

  1. Oma
    November 22, 2011 at 9:47 am

    That is just beautiful and brought tears to my eyes! I can relate to the endless questions… and I, too, get concerned when it’s quiet for more than 45 seconds. ;-) But just like you shared here, there are those awesome moments that move me to tears. Like the time when out of the blue my grandson ran up to me, pulled my sleeve, put his head against my arm and said, “Oma, I love you!” He hardly stayed long enough for me to reply, “I love you, too”, as off he ran, back to his room and endless play with rubber insects that are just fascinating to him. I treasure his rare expressions of affection or observations that never cease to amaze me. Yes, raising a special needs child is not all gloom and doom. It has its challenges, but with it come endless rewards and wonderful victories that make it worth it all. Thanks for reminding us of this Autism Speaks and Big Daddy.

  2. Ray Sallard
    November 22, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    Yeah, this was an awesome story. Ending caught me off guard. I am raising a H.F. Autistic child. He is 15 years old. He doesn’t make much noise at all because he’d rather be to himself most of the time. He does talk rather loud though. I have to be honest…sometime I feel at my wits end with some of the outbursts ‘episodes’ he has and I handle it completely wrong but then after everything is over and tempers have calmed down, we hug and he acts as if nothing had ever happened. Then, is when I know I was wrong and how truly special he is. But, when he gets on a roll it’s like juggernaut from the movie X-men. There’s no stopping him. But other than those rare times, he is completely lovable and I realize how blessed I am to be a part of his life.

  3. Alicia Gonzalez
    November 23, 2011 at 12:25 am

    i have 6 kids all under 8 and yes the answering of the questions is pretty tiring but there is always a question or phrase that just take your breath away and leaves you crying like a little kid!

  4. Laura
    November 23, 2011 at 5:58 am

    Amazing. Thank you. My 15yo son has Autism and is non verbal but with quite the vocabulary of sounds to communicate his moods. I can tell concern, annoyance, contentment and pure joy to name a few. Those moments of being so purely lucid and with such laser beam eye contact that the hair on the back of my neck stand up are
    reminders of his beautiful soul. Make up for the times he makes me CRAZY!!!!!

  5. Kathy S
    November 23, 2011 at 9:48 am

    I have had these moments with my son also. One Christmas after we were told Anthony was ASD our tree fell over and the little Christmas bell I loved was crushed. My Brother had also passed away that year and my husband was diagnosed with stage three cancer. I was having a little trouble coping and went upstairs to cry. I had been praying for months that God would let me know some how that Anthony would be OK. Anthony came upstairs and said mommy it’s OK we can get another bell. I told him that wasn’t it , that the reason I was crying was because it had been my mother’s favorite and she had given it to me before she went to heaven and I missed her. He look right at me which he rarely does and said “but you can still talk to her”. I said he was right and it did help me to put things in perspective, then he suddenly jumped up and said I know what to do and he ran out of the room. I had to collect my self before I went back down stair and when I got to our Kitchen I found that Anthony had made me a beautiful bell out of construction paper. I asked him what this was and he said it’s for you Mommy and it will never break. I new then that my son was going to be OK. I keep that paper bell in a box to protect it and I put it on my Christmas tree every year, it’s so beautiful.

  6. Noreen
    November 23, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    If the sound of a sunset is “silence” obviously I need to schedule in watching the sunset everyday LOL Yes, this boy obviously has a beautiful “connect” with nature and I would get him outside and make a scheduled apptmt. to watch it together as much as possible :) Nice!

  7. Cindy
    November 26, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    On the drive to my parents’ house, which is one of my 20 year old son’s favorite places in the world, I saw a lovely sunset in the rear view window. I told Stephen, “Look out the back window, what a beautiful sunset!” He looked and said, “yeah, yeah, I see the sunset.” How normal for a 20 year old, right? We were in typical twenties land for a fraction of a minute. So much of the trip was movie talk, so the Sarcasm was Refreshing…I’m sure non-spectrum parents would have a hard time understanding.

  8. November 27, 2011 at 11:51 pm

    Oh you made me cry too. Thats beautiful.

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