I wrote this post in late July, while the boys and I were in St Louis for my Aunt's 50th Jubilee.
Twice during our trip, Middle Son showed a strong interest in being part of the group.
On Saturday night, a second group of cousins arrived. They filled up the guest house. They were all drinking wine and talking loudly. Middle made it clear that he wanted to go.
We went back to the hotel. About 90 minutes later, Middle brought me his belt. I asked if he wanted to go outside. He signed yes. I thought we would just go talk the dog for a short walk. We got the dog and went outside. Middle went straight to the car. I asked if he wanted to go for a ride. He signed yes. I asked if he wanted to go back to the house. Again, he signed yes. So we drove back to the house. By this time the second wave of cousins had all gone back to the hotel, so it was quiet again.
Middle seemed very happy. We stayed for about 40 minutes, then went back to the hotel and went to sleep.
The second time was during the Jubilee Mass. The church was very crowed, and it was going to be a long service. My aunt had arranged seats for us at the very back of the church. That way we had a little more space, and could easily get up and go outside if Middle got overwhelmed.
Shortly after the Mass started, Middle did get up. We wandered down the hallway, then back into the church proper. Then, to my surprise, he headed down the aisle towards the front of the church. When we got to the pews where the rest of the family was sitting he stopped. We leaned against the wall for a while. Middle sat on the floor with Willow. After 10 minutes or so he got up and returned to our seats in the back. A little later he went back up with the rest of the family.
I was moved by his desire to be part of the group and involved with the rest of the family. I had never seen him do that before. I suppose part of that was because he's rarely in situations where there is a large group that he can move in and out of. I will have to work on creating more of those opportunities for him.