Zach shares some characteristics with Linus Van Pelt from the Peanuts comic. Just as Linus has his signature blanket that he cannot be without, Zach has a certain green blanket he has been attached to for years. That blanket has been chewed on, pulled on, and pee-ed on. It has been dragged, ripped, wadded, and wrapped. It is faded, frayed, and falling apart. But Zach still loves it and won’t part with it.
Linus is well known for sucking his thumb. Zach, too, still partakes of the opposable digit. And just as Linus often sits sucking his thumb and clutching that beloved blanket, Zach can frequently be seen in a similar pose.
And then there’s Linus and the ladies. Well, really just the one. Charlie Brown’s little sister, Sally, is enamored with Linus, but he is at best indifferent to her advances. Even though he adamantly refuses the “Sweet Baboo” nickname she has given him, he is quite willing for her to join him in his interest, namely waiting for the Great Pumpkin on Halloween night.
Likewise, Zach has charmed nearly every teacher, therapist, or para-professional that has worked with him. All the ladies love him. But he is basically indifferent toward them. That is until he sees that they might be useful in attaining something he desires. He’ll take anyone’s hand who could potentially walk him out the door. Or he’ll offer his cheek for a kiss just to move things along.
As I think of the similarities, I am hopeful for one more. In the TV classic, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Linus proves to be the only character that understands the true meaning of Christmas. He very eloquently quotes from the Gospel of Luke to explain the holiday to Charlie Brown. I hope Zach will one day be able to do the same.
But even if he doesn’t vocalize it, I pray that he comprehends it. His brother, Micah, gives me hope in that direction. He used to not be able to communicate what he understood. Just recently we asked him about a picture from a few years ago where he and Zach stood in front of a life size nativity display completely built out of Legos. He very precisely told us that it was “a scene representing the birth of Jesus.” I was very proud to hear that he knew this. I pray Zach knows it, too.