Back story #1
When my parents got married, they negotiated our holiday schedule with both sides of the family. We spent Christmas Day with my mom’s side and the day after Christmas with my Dad’s side.
Back story #2
My mom is one of four daughters. All of whom are married. My dad has a younger sister, who got married about 8 years ago.
Back story #3
Dude doesn’t particularly enjoy family parties. They’re loud. They do nothing to help his sensory processing difficulties. He used to cry when we’d sing “Happy Birthday” because we were too loud and never in the proper key. Dude would find the quietest place possible and hide out there while everyone else was socializing. He still prefers to be in a separate room, but can last longer in the noise than he used to.
Back story #4
A lot of kids on the spectrum like to line up their toys. For example, instead of playing appropriately with a toy train set, the child may line all the cars up next to each other and then become very upset if their order is disturbed.
This happened many Christmases ago.. probably around the time Dude was 6 or 7 and still fairly nonverbal.
It was Christmas Day with my mom’s side of the family. Some of my aunts and uncles were sitting in the living room, while some were helping my Mom Mom in the kitchen. Suddenly, Dude appeared at my Aunt L’s side and started tugging on her arm. Perplexed, she let him lead her to the living room, where he positioned her next to her husband, Uncle T.
Dude returned to the kitchen and did the same thing with my Aunt M, leading her to Uncle M. Next, he put our parents together.
Now, my Uncle M is a bit of a trickster. He loves a good laugh and will mess with anyone (Dude included) if the situation presents itself.
While Dude was making his 4th trip out to the kitchen, Uncle M switched places with Uncle T.
When Dude returned to the living room, leading Mom Mom by the arm, he stopped short at the sight of Uncle M standing with Aunt L. Dropping my Mom Mom’s arm, he headed for the mismatched pair and separated them, placing them with their appropriate spouses. Then, he placed Mom Mom with Pop Pop.
The next time Dude returned, Uncle M was standing next to Aunt J. Again, Dude separated and re-matched. Dude spent most of the evening trying to keep all the couples close in proximity.
The next day, we had Christmas with my Dad’s side of the family. Again, Dude matched our parents, followed by Grandmom and Grandpop. However, this time around, Dude had a situation he didn’t know how to handle. Aunt D was single at the time. He stood there and stared at her, completely perplexed.
My parents said it was hysterical to see the wheels furiously turning in his head.