Monday, November 14, 2011

The A Dar Never Vacations

When STM and I were on vacation, we kept spotting the same family. They often ended up eating breakfast next to us, walking on the path next to us, you get the idea. Right away my A-dar went up when I saw their little girl, who was about six or seven. I can't even put my finger on it, it was just "something" about where her gaze was, how repetitive she was in what she said, "Mom is sitting here," "Don't sit there, Mom is sitting there, "Mom is sitting there," "That's where Mom will sit," etc.

The father finally said, "I know, you've told me repeatedly." He didn't sound mad, he didn't sound super annoyed (I was), he sounded resigned. Then I watched the same father go to the buffet and bring her back a plate of all white food: toast, rice, banana. That sealed the deal.

I saw the exhausted looking mom. I saw the exhausted looking dad. I saw the game-for-anything grandparents they'd brought along to help with the kids. I saw the older, typical brother. I saw the old me that would have tried to make a trip like that work (and did just such a thing when we took everyone, STM's parents included, to Disneyland when Rojo was that age). I saw the strain between the parents, despite the fact that they were "on vacation." I saw their future. I saw their past.

I didn't say a word to them.

I remember in the earlier years when someone thought they had a kid like Rojo, and they'd tell me their story, and pass along their words of wisdom. I found it presumptuous. I found it putting the cart before the horse - they were trying to give me input I was not ready to have. I found it hard to shake their words loose from my brain, and some lived to haunt me.

I also know they were doing it out of kindness, that they recognized something in him, in me, in us that resonated with them, and they wanted to connect from that place, but that is just not a place everyone necessarily wants to connect.

So, although the A-dar never takes a vacation, my tendency to "help," must.

Photo from:


gail said...

It has been my experience that "autism families" usually don't mind getting input. I always say community is the most important thing a family can develop after a diagnosis.

Elizabeth said...

I find your response so interesting -- and wise. I don't know what I would have done -- probably shoot off at the mouth, as usual.

Amber said...

I'm proud of you. I'm sure whatever you would have to say to them would have been spot on, and helpful. However, YOU were on vacation.

I'm happy you took care of you. They will be fine. Just like you are.


Dee said...

Dear Carrie,
Thank you. I never realized.


Brenda said...

I always want to connect, too. In some way, just to make a connection.

kario said...

Good for you. I am often tempted to do the same with people but I have to remember that we must each travel our own path and if anyone asks, I'm more than willing to offer my opinion. I know, shocking, huh?