From the Archives: Look What I Found
In these snippets from the archives, my daughter defies several stereotypes about autism, and makes a wonderful discovery.
July 11, 2003:
And I've decided whoever said autistic children have difficulty with imagination games must have been smoking crack. As my daughter has been spending the last few hours playing pretend with the Mrs. Butterworth's syrup bottle, a little bear full of honey, and various other jars and canisters on the shelf in the kitchen. She is easily amused. Not unlike me. (I've been entertained all morning by friendster.com. There is definitely a kinship between the two activities, I think.)
September 4, 2003:
The best part, though -- tonight, getting A. out of the tub, drying her off, when the thought 'Maybe I don't have what it takes to be a real writer' enters my mind, and tears start streaming down my face, and A. -- my darling autistic A. who is supposed to (and used to) have absolutely no sense of empathy, no sense of comfort, no sense of reading other people's emotions -- her tiny little hands on my face, rubbing away my tears like they were leaves or grass or dirt, saying 'Momma, Momma,' and then her little tiny arms around me, giving me a huge hug and then another, saying 'Happy momma' which means -- be happy, momma. I never dreamed, I can't even tell you, in a million years, I'd be so lucky -- I mean, less than six months ago, she couldn't read my anger or my sadness, she couldn't even comprehend the difference between when I was sick and well. Just to see that, the expression on her eyes, that honest sincere 'I'm worried about you' expression, to know that she gets it. I can't even say. Now I'm crying for an entirely different set of reasons. God.
September 24, 2003:
A. is doing well, though I feel as if I see her so rarely during the week. Always so busy. It's scary how much time you have to spend away from your family just to survive in the world. But A. doesn't seem to mind, even flourishes, really, around other children and the like. She talks about kids in her class now. She'll point them out in pictures. She knows them by name. It makes me so happy, these small steps.
She jumped in Ed's convertible today and tried to steal it. A. has good taste in cars.
February 16, 2004:
A.: Hey, Mommy -- Look what I found?
Devon: Hullo, A. -- What did you find?
A.: Me. (smiles and giggles)