This is Fred...
Fred has been a member of our family for a very LONG time.
Well....we've had Fred #1 and Fred #2......
Let me start from the beginning.
I had a friend that I met when Linz and Zach were first diagnosed with Autism who sent all three of the kids "Beanie Buddies" (this was back during the Beanie Baby Bonanza...) This tie dyed bear somehow became Zach's favorite and sort of took on a life of his own. Zach was non verbal for so long and I always wondered what he'd name the bear if he could tell me. One day....a long while later after he actually started calling me "Mommy" (I think he was almost 9 yrs. old) I asked him one night when I tucked he and his bear into bed , "What's the bear's name?" and he simply said, "Fred". It was kind of a "Um, duh, Mom!" moment...like "Didn't you know that???" And that's how Fred got his name.
Fred has been on MANY adventures. He's been to visit relatives in Michigan, he's been to Virginia Beach, he's been to Disney World (and Land) many times.....he's quite the accomplished traveler.
Once when we were packing for a 10-day trip to Disney I was double checking all of the kids' backpacks for the flight to make sure they all had things to do on the plane, etc. and I saw Fred was already in Zach's backpack. Well, I guess he needed Fred to sleep with him that night and the next morning he accidentally left Fred at home in Manassas when we left for the airport. We didn't discover that Fred hadn't made the flight with us until we were unpacking at the resort. :-( Well....ever the faithful Nannie and Papa...they went to our house and got Fred, packed him safely in a box and FedExed (or "FredExed" as we called it...) him to us at the Beach Club Resort at Disney World. Whew!! I can't even begin to tell you how HUGE the smile was on Zach's face when he opened that box!
Fred has been well loved and well worn....washed and dried and a little TOO loved by Marley when he was a puppy. I had to get online and buy a replacement Fred after Marley's "unstuffing" escapde.
So as the years have passed we've found that Fred has allowed Zach, our "gentle giant", as Linz calls him, to have a voice. Zach has found ways to show his sweet sense of humor by teasing us all with Fred. He'll say things like, "Fred's going in Mommy's car!" and I'll act shocked and appalled and say, "No! Fred can't ride in my car!" and he will crack up. He'll say, "Fred's in Mom's bed!" (which is always
"fun" interesting when we're in public and people look at me like....WHO THE HECK IS FRED AND WHY IS HE IN YOUR BED???) and I have to look shocked and say, "Fred better not be in MY bed!".
This morning, when I went out to get in my car to leave for work, I was treated to yet another smile and a laugh provided by Zach and Fred and was struck by what an impact one stuffed bear could make. It's funny when I hear researchers talk about "finding the switch" with autistic kids. No one can tell you what the switch is or where to find it. I can tell you, however, that Fred seems to have been a "switch" for Zach. He has allowed Zach to show his "funny" side and it's given him a way to make people smile and that brings him SO much joy.
Take time to find the smiles in the little things and spread a little love around. Also, don't be alarmed the next time you hear that someone named "Fred" is sleeping in my bed. :-) Mike knows all about him and he's okay with it.
Here's the smile that started my day....
|Fred and his pal, Maddie...another bear friend who's a recent addition to our family. Zach named her too.|
Wishing you Faith, Love and Pixiedust,