One of the greatest rewards of parenting is when the love you invest in your child is appreciated and paid back. On this day that’s ostensibly about being thankful, I’m thankful that my child does love me back, but expressions of love and appreciation aren’t her forte. Wait let me clarify that, she doesn’t typically express it in the conventional sense. My daughter, you see, is autistic, and such abstract notions like love, well, she feels it, but struggles a bit to communicate that effectively.
That doesn’t mean she doesn’t have many of the same likes and dislikes that neuro-typical kids her age have, and even her father: she listens to music all danged day. My fifteen year old likes Katy Perry, Rhianna and the Black Eyed Peas, but she also likes the Beatles and the Beach Boys (specifically, “Kokomo,” alas). One day last summer while driving her home from day camp, I popped in the Bellybutton CD by the sadly long-defunct Jellyfish and she immediately got interested in the music, especially after noticing the cute, long haired guys pictured on the cover. Before long, she’s latched on to the first track, “The Man I Used To Be” — the one song on the whole album a curse word is uttered, wouldn’t you know — and now nearly everytime she’s riding in my car with me she wants me to play that one song, repeatedly.
The other day as we were driving home after watching a father/daughter themed movie we listened again to our special song that we share. Knowing it’s a longshot, I decided then to find out just what is it she digs about “The Man I Used To Be.”
“Why do you like this song?”
“Because it’s fun.”
“What makes it so fun?”
OK, so that wasn’t very informative, but she only sings along to the refrain, and that’s more revealing:
Into battle/and in your shadow/your Daddy loves you still/yes he does
Yes, I do.