Sunday, May 6, 2012
Night and Day
Our heads hit the pillow one night after a long day. Ashi asked me to tell her about a time, any time, when she had an uncontrollable meltdown. I was weary and ready for sleep, but she was curiously probing me for the gory details of her 'glory days.'
I began to carefully spell out times we would try to leave Wal-Mart after shopping and she would be so horribly upset by that transition that she would scream and cry. I told her about the glares and stares from 'ladies' that made me so self-conscious. These were painful times for me, but oddly, my daughter lay beside me laughing her head off, wanting another story!
So, I added times when going shopping was tricky because she never wanted to get dressed, or leave the house, or stop lining her animals up long enough to grab groceries. It was frustrating back then, but now, Ashi's giggles jiggled the whole bed. Her shoulders bounced up and down while she laughed and tried to catch her breath enough to ask for more stories!
So, I rattled off how we stopped going out to eat because she liked to crawl under the table in public (she chuckles!); how she would fall to the ground kicking and screaming when it was time to leave the library (she bubbles over with laughter!); how we had to schedule doctor appointments so the doctor could see her in the waiting room instead of the office (full belly laughs and gasping for air! She begged for more!)
So, I continued, telling her how she got kicked out of Sunday School at age 2 because she didn't want to color, she only wanted to sort the crayons (hysterics from Ashi, one lone tear in the dark from Mommy); she also did not want to put puzzles together, she wanted to tap the pieces together in front of her face instead and she was not going to gather in a circle to sing songs (rolling giggles from Ashi, another silent tear from Mommy); her wandering about the room, admiring displays and posters about Jesus wasn't encouraged or tolerated. Those teachers refused to understand that she wasn't being rotten, she could already read and she stored all that information about Jesus in her brain. (Ashi, now giddy, rolling in her sheets, Mommy dabbing tears with them.)
As I was sh'shing Ashi's uncontrollable glee, I realized how all these moments stand still in time for me. I think they're painful, but Ashi's thrilled by them. Different, just like night and day. I'm happy about that. I feel like we've done a good job protecting her from our hurt and hurtful people. Ashi's happy stroll down memory lane was my resentful trudge up forgiveness' rocky path; a walk I definitely needed to take. After hearing all that laughter, it's certainly a lot easier to walk out of that darkness and right into brighter days.
Annie Eskeldson writes for parents of young autists. Her own autist used to require 4 hours of sleep per day from age 2 until age 5. Brutal!
Annie has 3 published children's books about autism that also nurture parents at www.ashisgift.com
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