Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Postcards from Literal Land

On a recent Saturday, the summer season of the girls' baseball league ended. They had a game, then afterwards there were closing ceremonies and a picnic. All the kids received trophies. The girls were so excited. They have been itching for a shiny plastic trophy for awhile now.

While I was oohing and ahhing over their awards, I asked Abby, "We'll have to show Daddy this when we get home. What will Daddy think about your trophy?"

She replied, "That it's not breakable."


Earlier that same day we were driving to BFE where their games are and as usual, I was listening to the traffic report. It is on a local talk radio/news station. I try to pay attention when the news comes on between the traffic reports because it is always full of terrible stuff and I don't want the girls to hear it. I guess I spaced out though because suddenly the girls were in hysterics in the back seat. In the course of trying to calm them down and get to the bottom of why they were freaking out, I asked them what in the world had gotten them so worked up.

Abby tearfully and with trembling, "I am scared! I don't want fire arms!! I don't want fire arms!! Mommy what happens for someone to get fire arms??!?" She was frantically waving her arms out in front of her.

At first I couldn't imagine what the heck she was talking about, then it hit me. I realized that I had not turned down the news and they had done a report about some criminals that had been apprehended who had firearms.

And thusly, an impromptu gun safety lesson was had in the van on the way to baseball.

Never a dull moment. What I wouldn't give for a dull moment.

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.
Job 8:21

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Even though I don't know you...

We spent the late afternoon and evening at a swimming club. While there, I noticed a long-legged preteen/teen. She was super cute: Blond, Louise Brooks haircut, doe-eyed and pretty. She looked a lot like I can imagine Abby looking at that age, only Abby would be a brunette version of this girl. I noticed her right away. And almost as immediately, I pegged her as one of "our kind." Just by watching her, I knew she was on the spectrum. No, she didn't freak out, flap or line things up, but I could just tell.

I watched her throughout our stay at the pool. I grew more convinced as dusk turned to night and I saw her mostly tracing and retracing the parameter of the pool and engaging in all types of aut-behaviors, albeit subtle ones. I tried to match her to a parent. I always do whenever I think I spot an aut-child. I want to know, just in case something autstic-ky breaks out.

At the end of our time at the pool tonight we were exiting the changing room, the girls were showered and in their night clothes, and we literally bumped into this beautiful girl. She stopped in her tracks and pointed to Abby's nightgown (largely hidden under a terry robe) and said, while pointing to it, "I really like your nightgown. I have one just like it."

I swear it was like hearing a slightly more mature voice playing back one of Abby's most commonly trotted out scripts to initiate conversation.

I immediately sought to make eye-contact with the child saying, "Thank you. We like this nightgown," while pointing to Abby and saying, "This is Abby. What is your name?"

Her response?

"I am playing a memory game," as she walked off.


My aut-mom friends laughingly say I can spot 'em after just "two flaps and a toewalk." And for the most part, I have to agree with them; I really can.

As she walked away, very quietly humming and talking to herself at turns, I found myself feeling bittersweet about both my observations of her over the course of the evening and our brief interaction.

She could be my High-Functioning Autistic Abby, fast forward 6 years.

It broke my heart a little bit.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.

1 Corinthians 13:6-10

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

So "IT" finally happened

One of my daughter's asked me if she had autism.

We were walking back from the market when we were on vacation last week in CA and I saw a sign on a building that read "Center for Autism Research," and I declared I wanted to go see what that was about.

It came so totally out of the blue, Abby's question that is. I just casually answered, "Yes," and told her it was no biggie; it just meant that her brain worked differently than most people's. Then she asked if her twin had autism too and I answered that she did, but hers was a little different and had a different name, "Asperger's Syndrome." She didn't ask for any further explanation at the time so I did not explore her thoughts. Her sis said nothing about it at all (HIGHLY unusual).

Today, we were at a drugstore picking up some meds for dh who is away for the summer and she asked about it again. I still remained truthful, but general in my answers, although this time I added that we knew lots of kids who had autism or AS and I named a few of them. Then she asked me if dh or myself had it, and I was kind of stumped as to how to answer because I know that if I were assessed for ASD when I was a child, I would undoubtedly been dx'd with AS, but obviously in Podunk, Texas 1973 no such thing was going to happen. So I told her, as generally as possible that her dad had some other things about his brain that made it unique (he has ADHD that was undiagnosed until he was an adult) and that no one knew much about autism when mommy was little, but that I probably had the same kind that sis does.

She didn't have anything further to say on the matter after that and again, her sis said nothing.

I have known this day would come. They are too high-functioning and immersed in the vanilla world for these questions not to be asked, but I had counted on a few more years.

I am feeling pretty unnerved and absolutely unsure as to how to proceed.

Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.
James 1:4-6
  • International Day of Prayer for Autism & Asperger's Syndrome