Julian said, "Mom, I had a Good Day today."
It didn't start out that way. Julian was unfocused and didn't even say hello to Benny in the waiting room of the therapy center where we meet weekly. He wandered around and never looked at us. When we went in to begin our session, he was not ready and spent some time on the swing. About half an hour went by before we could begin.
I brought the book we are working on with new pages to fill in about Benny's story and life. Julian likes this activity and I am coming up with harder and harder pages for him. Once Julian settled in with his furry friend, everything changed.
Julian is a wonderful reader and has a beautiful handwriting. He had to read the page, look at the picture and fill in the blanks. He had to come up with some appropriate words about Benny.
He needs to see the picture first and absorb it, then read the words and then think.
Some of the pages are funny like pictures of Benny and his doctor showing their teeth when he had them cleaned.
And some are very poignant and Julian really has to think to fill in the blanks. He has to make choices.
I was particularly surprised and touched when he chose an emotion for how Benny was when I adopted him, rather than just saying he was a Puppy.
Julian said Benny was Happy.
Some pages stumped him but he worked through and always came up with an answer. One of the questions required him to measure Benny to see how long he was. This was a big challenge at first, but he mastered the measuring tape and we now know Benny is 26 inches long.
When it was time to give Benny a treat because he was such a good boy, Julian looked right at me for validation that he was doing it correctly.
Right at me.
What began as an awkward day became one of the most enlightening. I could really see how Julian processes things and how he truly loves this little dog.
He wanted to carry Benny to our car rather than walk him, so I lifted the fourteen pound dog and put him into Julian's arms.
The little boy held on to the little dog all the way to the car.
And the little dog sighed contentedly as he was being carried by his dear friend.
Trust from both boys.
Before Julian helped Benny into his car seat, he gave him one last big hug.
And looked at the dog.
Really looked at the dog.
For almost two years Julian has hugged me goodbye but never looked at me.
Some things only a best friend can bring out in a child like Julian...just two special boys together, connecting.