"Every family needs a Kyle". That is what my sister and I say to anyone who meets Kyle and is taken away by his charm, which is most anyone who meets him. I am the blessed one in our family to get him! If you have never been close to a mentally handicapped person, you are truly missing out! If you are unaware of Kyle's story, you can read it here. Kyle is pretty high functioning, but not high enough to ever live on his own. He has no concept of time...minutes, hours, days, weeks, or months. For example, he may be awaiting his friend who is due here at noon. He will come to me at 10 am and say "only 2 more minutes til Robert gets here." He told me the other day that Christmas was only 2 days away....it was really 2 weeks. If left to himself, he would never take his meds, wear the same clothes for days, never change his sheets, he would have no teeth because he needs to be told to brush them, have a full beard, drink WAY too much Mountain Dew, and eat pizza for EVERY meal. He would, however, shower everyday and keep his room tidy. He keeps his dvd's in perfect order and over the past year he cuts his fingernails without being told. Still, he needs his family. I can not count the times my sister will call me out of the blue and say, "Remember when Kyle......." and we will laugh until we cry! My nephew Andrew is Kyle's biggest fan....he is 2 weeks younger than Kyle and they grew up together, so he was around for alot of Kyle's antics!
Over the next few days, I thought I would record a few of our favorites here, so that some day Charlotte and Zach can carry on the memories of Uncle Kyle.
My personal favorite was from several years ago. We had just moved here and Kyle started to go to a school which housed only mentally/physically handicapped children up to age 21. Kyle was 15 at the time and he LOVED this school. He is very social and because the previous school system wanted to mainstream him, I chose to homeschool him. Anyway, he was on cloud nine at this place and he had joined the choir. A local organization called the "ARC" was having a big fancy charity dinner at an upscale restaurant and Kyle's choir was going to sing for them. We were all going to watch (at $20 a ticket) including my mom and sister. A day or so before the performance, Kyle asked me, "Mom, what does ARC mean?" I told him is stood for "Association of Retarded Citizens" Kyle's eyes got big and he said, "GREAT!!! You mean I am going to sing for a bunch of retards???" I about fell out!!! I had no idea what to say to him and told him, "No, honey, they are an organization who help retarded people." He did not believe me because in his mind who would want to help retarded people. Now you have to understand that Kyle only heard this word used in a negative way. We did not use it in our home and he would hear it out around other kids who used it in a derogatory way, like..."That's so retarded!" Kyle also had no idea he was handicapped, nor were any of the other kids in his school. Everyone in Kyle's world was just fine! He called my sister and told her she may not want to make the long drive to watch him sing as there may be retarded people there. He told her what ARC stood for and she (while holding her laughter at bay) explained to him it would be ok. Kyle felt he had never seen a retarded person before and had no idea what to do if he saw one in the crowd. Aunt Debbie told him, "If you see one, just smile and wave". She is SO naughty! We went to the dinner and Kyle and his choir went up to sing. He was standing tall with all his classmates lined up with him. Right next to him was a young girl in a wheelchair who could barely make a noise. She had on a bib and every so often Kyle would lean over and use that bib to wipe the drool from her mouth. On the other side of him stood a young girl who's arm curled in disfigurement. She looked to Kyle many times for, what appeared to be, reassurance. Still, my son stood tall, singing his heart out, all the while smiling and waving at one, singled out, well dressed, older gentleman in the front row. At one point he caught my sister's gaze and gave her a thumbs up. He had found the retarded person in the room and was handling it just fine!!!
Yes, every family needs a Kyle!
Yes, every family needs a Kyle!