Christmas morning arrived, and the brightly wrapped gifts waited beneath the twinkling lights of the decorated Christmas tree. All shapes and sizes of gifts. Bright boxes and mysterious packages. Large and small, bright ribbons and bows, shiny bags and coloured tissue paper!
The family gathered around waiting to see who would ‘win’ the coveted honour of gifting the best flappable toy. It had become a family challenge to see which toy would be the favourite each year. So many gifts to choose from! But the true test of Benjamin’s perfect toy was how well it ‘flapped’ when it was moved back and forth.
Benjamin's eyes lit up with glee. He loved unwrapping presents! One by one he eagerly tore open the wrapping paper to fling it wide. Books were quickly opened, glanced at and then set aside. Chocolates were opened, tasted, and set aside. Clothing and socks were opened and tossed quickly away!
Then, excitedly, he unwrapped each gift, seeking the perfect flapping toy. He loved the ones that made noise, squeezed, rattled, or ‘flapped’ when he shook them. Due to his autism and his sensory perception, it fascinated him to see the visual activity of movement. Hearing the unique sounds repeatedly could engross him for long periods.
Oh, the joy of flickering movement when the toy’s weight balanced perfectly in the palm of his hand. Then the flipping back and forth as it twisted and wiggled with the flick of his wrist!
First a teddy bear. Soft and fluffy. A twist, a wiggle, and a flap.
But the arms and legs were too short and stout to flop and flap well.
Next, a bean bag bear. A soft, satisfying squishy feel but, once again, not enough limb length to flap well.
Next, a dolly with flowing skirts and long hanging hair. Bright eyes and a smiling face. But again, not enough flip in the flap.
Finally, a Sesame Street Kermit the frog! A wonderful bright green colour! With long arms and legs! Floppy, flip, flap.
Suddenly, bright eyes and a smile! Success!
Oh, the glorious success! The long, skinny legs of the frog swung wide as they whipped back and forth with such grace!
The family cheered! Benjamin grinned with glee, then hummed with pleasure as he continued to flip and flap the frog back and forth.
Benjamin’s smile beamed with joy. Success!
With a flick of his wrist, the wonderful arms and legs flapped back and forth as the frog smiled back at him, obviously enjoying the attention.
Once again, flap, then a pause to grin. Then again, a flap and a grin.
Oh, the joy of the perfect Christmas gift!
"A joyful heart is good medicine but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." Proverbs 17:22
PS: This is the weekend of Benjamin's birthday.
He will be celebrating in heaven.
This memory of past celebrations brings tears to my eyes but warms my heart.
Happy Birthday, Baby!