Mary Kate is my 16 year old daughter with special needs. She has “claimed” to have a boyfriend for 10 years. The SAME boyfriend. With all my other children, it has been made clear that there are no boyfriends or girlfriends until they are a year or two away from being marriage-ready. Special needs kids break all the rules. Its kind of funny. We joke about all the things she is allowed to do that the other kids aren’t like going to school, having a boyfriends, going to prom, going on an overnight with her sports team, etc.
Here and there, you will hear about Mary Kate’s boyfriend. He is 19 years old in May. When people hear that, they hear “boy” and “19” above anything else. They look at Mary Kate and see her child like mentality and then look at me with the “What the heck?” look. I know, I know. An explanation may be in order. Mary Kate having a 19 year old boyfriend sounds bad so let me introduce you to him.
Mary Kate met Chris in elementary school when she was 6 and he was 9. He has spina bifida and has had some slow growth. Even with growth hormones, he stands at 52 inches tall and 58 pounds. Being 3 years apart kept them from seeing each other in school. He went off to Middle School leaving Mary Kate behind. Neither one of them used the phone so the only time they really saw each other was on Monday nights in May and June for T-Ball with the Exceptionals and at Special Olympic events about 3 times a year. They held firm that they were boyfriend and girlfriend though. They were committed. When Mary Kate was being introduced to one of her new classmates, she told the teacher, “I already have a boyfriend.” In which the teacher replied, “Mary Kate, I’m not trying to set you up.” When another boy was showing interest in her, she made it clear that they are just friends and that she was spoken for. If these were “normal” kids, I would be appalled and trying to get them in my Theology of the Body class STAT. But, this is a different life.
Recently, the original Sound of Music was coming back to theaters for one day. By the way, this is the funniest Nick story we have so read on. Mary Kate is in deep, deep love with the Sound of Music. Since I can count on one hand everything Mary Kate loves, we have to jump on these opportunities when they come. I thought, “why not make this special for her and invite Chris too.” I couldn’t go because I had a young, nursing baby. So, I told Nick that he was going to have to take the love birds. He was not happy. He had to miss an important soccer game for this. I decided that it would be best for Nick to have the kids at the movies before I told him it was a sing-a-long. Give me a high five for that decision! I texted him the news and he came back with some capital letters that weren’t too pleasant sounding. This makes me laugh. His capital letters and exclamation points are not too intimidating to me. He walks into the theater and sees a sea of white and blue hair. He finds a seat and slouches in his seat with the typical attitude of a teenager. THEN, lo and behold, in walks one of his other homeschool buddies with his parents. He is hiding his head as well. LOL. I’ve been instructed not to reveal his name. Sorry. Lol. After about an hour of Nick singing along and hearing and watching Mary Kate wiggle and giggle and singing in delight, I sent him another text. See. I like to give him unpleasant news in increments. It just helps. It helps him and it helps me continue enjoying this evening. I had “forgot” (wink, wink) to tell him that Chris falls asleep around 8:00 and he will have to be carried back to the van. Again, more capital letters of some sort. I am laughing very hard at this point. At about 8:15, Chris is sound asleep in a theater full of loud Sound of Music lyrics. Nick crawls over to his friend and whispers in his ear, “When this is over, you take his feet and I’ll carry his head.” Thankfully for Nick, Chris woke up when he started getting manhandled by Nick and walked himself to the van. I know that Nick really enjoyed himself. Sometimes when things get so out of whack, it just starts to get funny. With Mary Kate and Chris, everything is always out of whack so even though Nick himms and haws, he really enjoys spending time with them.
|Nick is giving Chris a noogy|
I am not worried about Mary Kate’s relationship with Chris. It is so pure and good and innocent. They are kind and generous to one another. They walked arm and arm all night at prom. Even when the tables and chairs were getting in the way, they would not let go. They would rather push and squeeze and knock over chairs then to let go of each other.
I hope one day that everyone gets to meet Chris and experience their relationship. It is quite a unique site and even a more unique relationship.