by Tina McGrevy, SMS Parent
Published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: All in the Family
2009 Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, LLC

Easter was quickly approaching. My extended family was planning to arrive at our home after church services for a pot luck luncheon. The food would be plentiful and delicious. The kids would have a wonderful time searching for eggs. After the egg hunt, the adults would have an even better time exploring the dessert table. And I was looking forward to the upcoming Sunday as much as a root canal.

I was anxious about it because this would be our first holiday without the portable television, or as my son Garrett calls it, "the little TV." The little TV was a thirteen inch combination television and DVD player. It only came out of the garage for special occasions, like anytime we had visitors.

Garrett was born with Smith-Magenis Syndrome and he does not appreciate the change in routine that a family gathering brings. When people are meandering through the kitchen, Garrett is not able to line up his plastic army men in a single file down the center of the floor. He is not permitted to go to the family room and turn the vacuum cleaner on, and off, and on again. But, worst of all, Garrett cannot hear our television in the living room. So, we allowed him to take the portable TV into his room where he could watch his Barney DVDs and hide from the overstimulating crowd.

"Garrett will be ten this year, and I think it is time he start joining in the family dinners," I told my husband after the TV died during the Christmas party. I was so brave when Easter was still four months away.

I began preparing Garrett for Easter Sunday as we colored eggs and decorated the house. I showed him where the family would be eating, and we discussed the menu. If he asked about the little TV, I would remind him that it was broken. I explained to him that he could watch his DVDs after the party was over and people went home.

When the day finally arrived, Garrett was in good spirits. I thought we had finally reached another milestone, and he would be a part of our Easter celebration. And then we sat down to eat.

"Can I watch Barney?" Garrett stood behind my chair as I tasted my first bite of ham.
"Not yet, Garrett," I answered. "It's time for lunch."
"Can I watch Barney?" he asked again.
"No," I replied. "Do you want a sandwich?"
"Can I watch Barney?" he asked while wringing his hands. I could tell he was starting to realize the gravity of the situation.

"Garrett," I whispered softly. He had to lean in to hear me. I put my arm around him, hoping to keep him calm. "Remember how I told you all our friends were coming over today? It is a special day! We will turn on the television after everyone has left."

Garrett stood back up, cupped his hands around his mouth and shouted, "Okay, everyone. Time to go home now. Easter is OVER!"