Age sometimes seems to rob us of the ability to say what we really want to say. Coming from us, it would sound hurtful, mean, or just plain irritating. From our daughter, even now, it's refreshingly honest.
This child didn't need to be given reason; he needed parameters. One could even argue that he needed a firm hand. Sometimes, children push so hard because they need to know their limits and, on some level, want those limits enforced.
My daughter will be fine, I tell myself. She will be fine, she tells herself. And yet the ache of longing for both of us makes us, if only for a moment, wish to stay put in our safe harbor, to stand fast in the life we have made.
Ideally, airlines would educate their employees about autism. But I have also learned ways to help with successful airline travel and now travel easily with my seventeen-year-old severely autistic and non-verbal son.
Maybe I felt guilty, thinking that by needing time for me, I was somehow negating my love for my children. After all, I had two healthy, wonderful kids relatively late in life, with no complications -- how dare I need some alone time!
A chubby young girl with Pippi Longstocking braids stands in front of the mirror holding up a too-small pink dress and sees a different version of herself. Her mirror image is thin. It's the cover of a (disturbing) new children's book.
Whether we admit it or not -- whether we want to or not -- we mirror our parents. Parents are the single greatest influence on our lives. We see, absorb and act out their best and worst habits and behaviors.
Sometimes I wish I could talk to the parents I had as a kid. One question I would ask them is this: what was the point of making a thirsty child eat their vegetables before drinking that watery Kool-Aid you served with dinner?