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


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