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She called herself, “Spin”–one of her alter egos, one of the media through which she accesses the verbal communication the rest of the world seems to take for granted–and she spent an hour with me, playing on my phone and laughing at our shared jokes. I can tickle her again, it seems (and I *promised* her there would always be tickles, 6 and 7 and 8 and more years ago, and I KNOW SHE REMEMBERS, so I’m glad there are tickles now, just like I promised) and she laughs again, not every day, but at least she’s not crying every day anymore, and this may not last forever (what does?) but it’s good right now.

He plays Uno with us, almost every day. We’re about equally good at applying the rules, he and I, and perpetually appeal to the other adults for further instruction (I should be an adult, but I understand why I sometimes don’t seem like one–I catch on so slowly, at team games, at rules with variations, at anything with social give-and-take, so of course my own children are sometimes tempted to see me as one of them, just a strange older child who sometimes tells them what they can and cannot do, and makes their food, and sends them to their rooms to calm down when they get agitated). I digress.

We spend so much time laughing, the 2 of us more than anyone else in the room, and I help him, I suppose I “make” him cheat, to be quite frank: “If you do x, y will happen to me/Jake/Douglas…” and I chortle in my joy (yes, that’s from “Jabberwocky,” and yes, I had to look that one up, and no, it’s not a perfect quote even though I did look it up) and I don’t even care if he knows he’s my pick to win every game we play, even at (especially at?) my own expense, because what *is* a mother, if not the person you can count on to always be on your side, to tell you right from wrong and then turn around and declare that, ultimately, she would still love you and your sibling(s) best no matter what evil you committed?

And besides: he really *doesn’t* understand the rules, yet. When he’s a little older, we’ll stop reminding him to say, “Uno!” every time he’s down to one card. Or we won’t, and he will hardly be the only autistic teen/adult in the world, who gets some special dispensation so he can join in with everyone else, now will he? And if you don’t like it: FIGHT ME, BRO. It is right and just and good, for the more vulnerable to be given more help. I doubt my stance on that will ever change.

Stop digressing! Okay, I will.

She watches us, sometimes. She’s not yet confident enough to play, but I wonder if she would try if it were just the 3 of us? I’ll ask, in time; but only once I remember the rules better myself… that’s not a bad idea, generally speaking. How could it be bad? It’s a chance for me to properly be the adult, in the only situation where I’m convinced I can really be fair: arbitrating between the 2 of them, each the only entity I love in the same way, and with the same ferocity, that I love the other.