The summer of the soul

I think this photo of me was made on Christmas Eve, 1959.

I think this photo of me was made on Christmas Eve, 1959.

“A part of childhood we’ll always remember
It is the summer of the soul in December…”
Paul Williams, from the song “It Feels Like Christmas

There’s a persistent misunderstanding that adults with autism or intellectual disabilities remain children all of their lives.  This is a convenient but often demeaning illusion for those who have a hard time seeing them as fellow adults; as peers who happen to have disabilities.

In some ways, it’s an easy mistake to make.  Many adults with developmental disabilities lack the normal inhibitions about showing emotion. This can be a blessing as well as a curse, and nowhere is it more of a blessing than at Christmas.  The childlike joy Matt has in all the festivities of Christmas, and especially in the music, is a welcome adornment to the season in our home. Now more than ever, I feel such joy at having a companion who is not only filled with the same enthusiasm for the holiday as I am, but who is also unafraid to show it.  Delight is much more fun when shared.

Yesterday Matt and I enjoyed listening to the music from one of our favorite versions of Dickens’ classic story, The Muppet Christmas Carol.  As with so much of what is crafted by talented artists who work with children in mind, it would be a mistake to underestimate the sophistication of such offerings. The offbeat humor and exceptional performance of Michael Caine would make the movie worth seeing even without the music, but the Paul Williams songs are unforgettably wonderful.  Almost every line of every song could be a theme for a blog post.

I hope you are able to enjoy the holiday season with the heart of a child,  along with the deeper appreciation, and responsibility, that goes with being an adult.  Let’s all bask in the glow of this summer of the soul, and give the children in our lives something warm to remember for years to come.

One year ago today

You have to be a child

This post was first published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. MaryAnn

    Your joy “beams” in this sweet photo of you! Makes my heart sing, as I “see” you & Matt delighting in these precious moments! His enthusiasm is something I’ve always treasured!
    Love to both of you!

    • Thank you Mary Ann! Cyber hugs to you!! ❤

  2. Carol Hoyos

    I have a lump in my throat because I’m reading between the lines. One day (and for our family it was 17 years) relationships will be resolved. It’s Gods time we have to accept and resign to. Hard? Very! As you know, maybe better than most, where there’s life there’s hope. While sounding trite it’s true. Wishing you a blessed Christmas and a safe and yes, a Happy New Year.

    • Thank you, Carol. Your words are genuinely a comfort to me. So much that sounds trite began to sound that way because the truths the hint at are so deep, solid and irrefutable that they have been repeated in simple words for as long as anyone can remember. Warmest wishes to you and your family as well! And may we all move ever closer to reconciliation, with each other nearby, with the rest of the world at large, and most importantly with our Creator.

  3. Just Wednesday I heard people discussing the Muppets Christmas Carol and what a classic it has become, and how anyone who hasn’t yet seen it, should.
    I loved it so much that I bought the VHS years ago. Thankfully, it’s possible to stream movies like that through a service nowadays.

    • Susan, one of my favorite memories, that grows ever more precious, is of our first Thanksgiving in Virginia (2004) when my sister’s family and my parents all came to spend the holiday with us, and we all sat down to watch the Muppet Christmas Carol together. My parents had never seen it, though my father had long been almost a connoisseur of the classic Dickens “Ghost Story of Christmas.” It’s the sort of memory that can’t be bought for any amount of money.

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