Look at my blog. I haven’t looked in any depth, but I feel sure I’ve noticed this trend on numerous occasions, and it certainly holds true for this month and last month.
What is it that makes things seem so much sharper (things past or present, or future worries) in this week of the month, every single month? I have very regular periods… I’m guessing it’s therefore something to do with my menstrual cycle. For whatever reason, at this point in the month, I feel more creative, but also more sensitive. I’m actually not hugely productive; I’m too busy trying to quietly deal with all the stuff that hurts me all the time, but is worse this week.
Tonight, I was lucky. My daughter (I’ve got to stop calling her my little girl–she’ll be 12 soon, and autism or no autism, she’s becoming a woman so fast the changes are more visible each month) was hysterically upset, self-harming, and saying she hated us all and wanted to live somewhere else… but she calmed down relatively quickly. I asked her to lie down in my bed, turned the big light off, and rubbed her back and shoulders and then her head (which she’d been hitting) as I suggested ways to make her feel better. I told her some stories about what she was like as a baby (she loves that, for now at least) and after a while, she felt safe again and went back to her room. Later, she came back to sit with me, and I wrote her some limericks (not THAT kind of limerick; a child-friendly limerick about her toy goat, another about her brother’s toy goat, another about her dad’s cat, etc) and it was glorious to see that she understood what I meant when I explained about an A, A, B, B, A rhyme scheme.
I don’t have any particular expectation that she’ll remember anything about rhyme schemes tomorrow, or be able to sound out one herself, even with prompting; but I don’t have any expectation that she won’t, either. She is the queen of keeping herself to herself, especially if she thinks she might have to demonstrate her learning before an audience (a prospect which visibly terrifies her) and so, as with so many things in our lives, we’ll have to wait and see.
There’s something ironic in the fact that one of the few sentences my daughter can utter, even in extremes of despair or stress when other words have vanished from her grasp, is a vehement and slightly guttural, “I HATE waiting!” Oh, Naomi. I know you do, baby. I know. And we’ve been waiting all your life, to see if you’ll catch up to other kids, to see what your diagnosis will be, to see if you’ll ever talk again, to see how many of the words might eventually find their way back to you.
No. That’s wrong. I won’t take her successes away from her–the words didn’t just fly back of their own accord, she went out and searched for them, and found all the ones she lost and some more besides. If she has fewer words at her disposal than most 5-year-olds, and fewer still when she’s in distress, that’s still thousands of words more than she had when she was 3, when ALL the words had disappeared. But I digress.
Lucky. I am so, so lucky. She and her brother have been my joy for so long, even with all the worry and fear and heartache being a mother causes, I can’t remember what joy was from before they got here. Did I ever truly feel it? Maybe as a very small child, when it was mostly just me, my own mother, my baby sister, and our dog (Pepper) and our cat (Miss Molly) and my dad was mostly not there, but sometimes there, and he didn’t *always* shout at Mama, and sometimes my Mimi (my dad’s mom) would let me come over and she would feed me a whole bowl of blueberries, deliciously cold from the fridge and sprinkled with sugar, and I knew I was her favourite grandchild and that everyone who met me loved me and thought I was clever and special.
But since those days–which came to an abrupt halt the summer I was 3–the truest joy I have felt began with the birth of my children. From the moment she arrived, I have loved Naomi more than I thought it was possible to love another human being, and I genuinely thought I loved my parents and siblings and close friends with all of my heart… I was wrong. I didn’t know. Naomi taught me unconditional love, and I am so lucky for having her.
If I could change one thing in the whole world, though, I would make it so that *she* could be the one who feels lucky… and I don’t have any way to do that. I guess she’ll have to keep waiting.