.                              A Covid-19 Event: Willie turned 16

April 20th 2021 My Sugga Dugga turned 16. I asked Willie did he want to learn how to drive. He answered emphatically “No!”

Willie’s only interest in cars is to keep track of the comings and goings of the cars in his driveway.  There’s a methodology to that also. Is Jha gone? Where’s Nay’s car? Is La’miya and Darren here? Where’s mommy?

I have my methodical answers or questions. “Is Jha gone Willie?” Willie answers,

“Yes,” if she’s gone. “No,” if she isn’t, followed by, “she leaving? Is Jha leaving?”

I say, “Eventually,” because everyone leaves eventually.

Next Willie looks out the window, sees Nay’s car.

“Where’s Mymy and Darren,?”

His niece and nephew.

“Are they downstairs?”

If they are I answer yes and emphasize that they are downstairs, not upstairs and I redirect his obsession. I redirect all Willie’s obsessions when I can.

Turning 16 has made redirection a little easier. Willie accepts that there are things neither he, nor I, can control.

Willie’s mom and dad gave Willie a birthday party on his birthday. 16 is a transitional year for a lot of kids. They start driving at that age, some start dating or falling into their first version of “love”. Willie accepted that a birthday party meant guests, including his niece and nephew.

There were cupcakes that represented Willie and the month of April. Autism Awareness Month, as if those living with Autism need an awareness month. It does bring focus to some people, I guess. Anyway…

There were decorations celebrating Willie.

There was food cooked by mom and dad. Mom cooked inside and dad cooked outside on the grill. Willie likes grilled Sahlens hot dogs. He also likes crispy fried chicken wings.

Willie pointed out his specially ordered cupcakes and ate one of them. He had no problem sharing them with his guests. His siblings, his mom and dad. His two grandmothers. An aunt and uncle and Mymy and Darren.

This was an intimate gathering. A small group of family members and a couple of friends. Sean stopped by after work before heading to the Falls. I was able to get Willie to stand still for some pictures and I love it when he does that. I must be quick, no photography creativity. Get the picture and move on, before Willie moves on.

Willie didn’t take a selfie with me, but La’miya did.

While Darren took a juice break.

Everyone snacked on food and then fixed their ‘to go’ plates. Afterward we sang “Happy Birthday,” and Willie received presents.

Willie asked “Is the party over?”

His mom said there was one more thing. It was the part Willie had been waiting for…

As Willie swung and swung,

Mom said, “He finally got his pinata.”

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