Paige and I were on the hunt for some drawings she did as a child and stumbled upon loads of other fun stuff. I saved a lot of the kids’ work from elementary school. I tried to limit it to their journals and things they created in art class and it still ended up filling several large boxes that either sit on the top shelf of my closet or slide under the bed.
I also saved some of the things that meant a lot to Sam in those years — for example, his social stories.
We were fortunate that social stories came out when Sam was in primary school. We bought a whole binder full of them and wrote some of our own. We made them into little books and covered them with construction paper. Some of them have stickers on them. It meant something back then, but I don’t remember what. I think it’s a hoot, though, that many of them are a cartoon of a head of broccoli running with a fork and knife from Albertsons, since that’s where he works now.
When family or friends would ask what a social story did, I told them that Sam had trouble picking up social cues. But if we detailed them in a story, he knew to watch for them and then he would know what to do next.
From a stack of about 20 that I’d saved, Sam pulled out this one about the trains first. Like many small Texas towns, Argyle grew up around what is now the BNSF line. When we first moved here from California, we moved to a small house by the train tracks. Sam was five then. And while I don’t remember this very well, he must have been easily distracted by the trains and it was becoming a problem from him attending to important tasks.
Sam said he remembered the stories. And, oh, the smile on his face went from ear to ear as he read it aloud.
“About the Trains”
We live at the chicken house. Trains go by our house all day and all night.
I like to watch the trains. First, I can hear the train rumbling in the distance. As the train nears, I can hear its whistle blow.
Then the red warning lights come on. The engines go by. I can count the engines. The cars come next. I like to see the different kinds of cars.
When the train is through the crossing, the red lights go off and the crossing arms go up.
Sometimes I’m too busy to watch the train. I have other things to do. That’s ok. I can always watch the next train go by.