She greeted me with warmth when I got on the bus in the morning. I was a little surprised because I go to work fairly early and am picked up even earlier and when I ride with others at that time, they are, um, chatty. I'm a morning person so I returned her greeting and asked her how she was. She smiled and said that she was already having a nice day.
I got strapped in and we took off. We went by a series of trees decorated with Christmas lights and she asked me if I celebrated Christmas. I told her that I did and that I loved the season. She said she did too. We talked a little more and when I told her what I did for a living she told me that she had a son with an intellectual disability who lived in a group home in the city of Toronto.
"Oh, how he loves Christmas," she said, then paused and added, "and of course, then, so do I."
"What's his favourite part of the season," I asked. She looked at me, hard, and then sat back in silence. She fiddled with the controls on her power chair, it was as if she was deciding if she should answer my question.
I hadn't thought it a difficult question, what's hard about 'presents,' 'Christmas music,' 'decorations,' 'feasts' and all the rest of it all, including, of course, 'fancy Christmas crackers' and the cheap little crowns we wear as we eat like royalty.
She said quietly, "He likes the season because people are just a little nicer to him over the holidays, they pay him a little more attention and he gets to make a few more choices."
I sat stunned.
Then she said, "I want it to be Christmas for him year round."
We arrived at her drop spot and as she got off I said to her, "I wish you and your son a never ending Christmas."
"That would be nice," she said, "really nice."
People little nicer.
Getting a little more attention.
Every day a few more choices.
These are a few of his favourite things.