I have tried so many times to explain how Emily can switch from acting almost her age (15) to being a toddler…
Sometimes, I try to explain it to get services, other time just so the person in front of me will understand our behaviors.
I know she looks confident, she stands tall at 5’7″ and dresses well. We’ve worked for years at building her self-esteem.
We did so well in building her self-esteem that some people don’t understand why she’s holding our hands in public, why I almost always get her plate at the restaurant so I can make sure everything is cut and not too hot. Why I taste her food or her tea before I give it to her. Why we need ice to cool down her soup or a tea spoon to eat spaghetti.
Some of those actions are so natural to me that I don’t notice doing them anymore.
Sometimes I tell my husbands or colleague to watch for the uneven ground… “Watch your step”
Last night around 9:30, we had some pretty bad weather. Thunder, lightning and rain showed up. Emily crawled in bed next to me and told me she was scared. We cuddled and laughed than it was mostly rain. She fell asleep in my arms.
Around 5:00 this morning we got a repeat of the thunder and lightning show but it was so much louder.
Emily woke-up startled and tried to get even closer to me. She took cuddling to a whole new level that she normally only reach when sick.
If you are a parent or have been around little kids, you have seen at some point a 3 year old, crawling up to her mom’s arms, putting her head in her mom’s neck and holding on with everything she has.
That’s how my confident teenager was this morning.
She was lying next to me, her head between my neck and breast, her right arm holding her baby, her left arm holding me and her legs and feet over my legs..
She asked me to sign “Twinkle twinkle little star”. I rubbed her back and her arms. Played in her hair. Talked to her gently. Told her she was safe in my arms, in our house… I tried to calm her down and get her back to sleep.
This episode lasted for over an hour.
When the party in the sky stopped and we were getting back to sleep, Jake (our puppy) needed to go out.
I took him out than it was almost time to get up so that’s what we did!
This morning, for over an hour my baby girl was a scared toddler and although I would have preferred too sleep, I would not change how it went.
Home is a safe place where Emily can be herself, where she doesn’t have to be anything other than herself. She doesn’t have to behave this way because she is in high school or constantly be reminded that her pretends friends are not going to school with her. She doesn’t have to be strong and stand tall because I have her back, I am here for her and when she’s home, she can be herself, she can let her guards down.
Nobody is judging.
Nobody is staring.
I hope you all have a safe place like our home is to us.
Like the 3 of us are for each other… A family where we can each be ourselves.
So beautiful and poignant! 🙂
Thank you Amber
Boy do I understand this one. People just don’t understand our Allie. She’s almost 10 but, in so many ways, is about 4 emotionally. We have, however, won on the one issue. She loves storms. When I picked them up from school yesterday, it was thundering, lightning and pouring down. When I asked if they wanted to wait until it stopped raining or get wet Allie giggled and said, “Get wet.” So we did. That’s joy, even if I was soaked.
I barely never use an umbrella. I enjoy rain and at the end if the day… Why not get wet and laugh while its happening. As for Emily, its the thunder that was really worrying her. Slowly, we will work in this but lucky us, it is not a type of weather we normally have a lot.
What a lovely affirmation of what a safe place really is supposed to be! Special need or not, that is what home should be and it’s not just your daughter that hates storms – it’s only recently that they don’t bother my son (15) and I really think it’s only because he sleeps through them now!
Thank you. I find lightning beautiful. I hope one day she will share that with me. One day, she might sit with me and laugh through thunder and admire the lightning.
I hope so too! 🙂
You must be on the East Coast somewhere. I am in NB and had the same storm. And similar experiences with my bed partners. All teens need to know home is a safe place regardless of special need or disability. I think it is great that Emily has that 🙂 I hope to one day achieve the same with my children ❤
We are in Moncton! It was quite a show this morning. I hope one day she might see the beauty in it!
I have actually only been to Moncton once in the 4 yrs I have lived here. We are in Oromocto 🙂 Tonight is supposed to be bad too (storm wise) and I think it’s supposed to rain all day tomorrow and Saturday too 😦 Personally I can’t stand storms. So I was under the blankets with the kids distracting them with peek a boo!