Last night was James "date". He chose the envelope that said "I'm sure there is something that you need. Let's go shopping and buy it indeed! Clothes, shoes, school supplies...We will do our best to provide. Mom and Dad care so much about you." So the two of us left in the cold wind headed to Target. James needed a long sleeved shirt and some new crew socks for basketball. He also had $15 birthday money that he wanted to spend. We planned on eating at the Target cafe so James could get a slushie. It was a great plan.
The van ride was filled with precious, uninterrupted conversation. James asked so many questions. We talked about the sunset and God's wonderful creation. He said "something changed in me when it got dark momma, and when I'm alone I ask such good questions. Are these good words?". I can't tell you how sweet that little voice was. James anxiously watched the clock. We had estimated we would be there at 6:16 but didn't arrive until 6:21. As we were walking into the store he said "I think our next date should be at the beach!" When we got into the store he had to use the restroom right away and then we noticed that the cafe was closed. He wasn't too bummed when I told him we could choose another place for dinner. We had a lovely time shopping for his items. He was so cooperative and said "I love shopping at Target because it's just so quiet. Not like our house". I could tell that his life is inundated with noise. It's true. Our house often rivals a three-ringed circus. So...crew socks, a shirt and a box of hot chocolate were his choices and then we went to the toy section to use his birthday money. He chose wisely and when we were checking out he so sweetly told the cashier our entire story as he was paying with his own money. He relayed the fact the we were on an adventure and that it was just the two of us. The woman behind us in line said "This is the best idea ever." James was literally beaming. On the way out of the store he jumped over each and every one of those big read balls outside "like a ninja".
When we got in the car he saw the time on the clock and said "Mom we won't have time for dinner will we?". I said "Oh yes baby we will". He requested a cheeseburger, fries, ranch and Dr. Pepper. He said "Mom wouldn't it be fun if we chose a restaurant that everyone else thought was stinky, but we didn't and when we got there we were the only two eating?" I just about cried. This boy was literally SCREAMING how much he needed some one on one time and that he just wanted QUIET. I'm so grateful that the Lord prompted me to make this gift and that he is using Nathan to provide the funds for these adventures. Keep praying sweet friend that all the details fall into place for these 59 remaining "dates". I decided that Chili's might be a good option because we were so close. We haven't eaten there in a long time. The menu had changed drastically and they had these really fun game devices on the table. For $1.99 there was unlimited play and so James and I talked and laughed as we played LIFE while eating. Normally I'm opposed to phones/devices/video games during a meal, but this was special we played math games, practiced our Spanish and played LIFE. James got the meal of his choice and I had a very yummy mango chili chicken for under 600 calories with black beans and steamed broccoli. I ordered a piece of molten lava chocolate cake to bring home for James to have today because we did stay out past his bedtime. James provides a soundtrack to his life. Literally this boy sings all the time. He's happy and makes the best faces. It was a joy to be with my youngest. He is generous and has a grateful heart. He said "please and thank you" without being prompted and made good eye contact with people. He's a great mix of shy and social and give great hugs. He was so polite to the waitress Melissa and told her all about our evening. He talked in detail of his family. It made me so proud of him, but there was a twinge of sadness as he described his older siblings. He told the waitress that Joseph is always mean and says "shut up" a lot. I asked James what Joseph has. He told the waitress about autism and the waitress kindly shared some things with James. He related the ages of his siblings, the fact that there are two sets of twins in our family and that he didn't have to share his cake with anyone because it was from our date. I have pics and videos that I'm going to try and attach to this post.