Friday, December 16, 2011

Letting Go

One of the hardest things for me to do as a mother of an autisic child is to let her "grow up".  I don't mean that I want her to stay small, or to act immature, but watching her grow into a teenager is the hardest thing I have ever had to do.  I have an older daughter, and when she was growing up, I had the usual sentimental pangs as she reached certain milestones.  Going to camp, starting middle school, talking on the phone with her friends, all of this I faced with a bittersweet attitude.  When it was time for Katie to do the very same things, however, I was terrified.  I still am.

Katie came home from school today and told me that there was a school dance this evening that she wanted to go.  Anyone who knows me, knows that you don't spring plans on me at the last minute.  I have to have everything planned way in advance, written on the calendar, and prepared for.  But Katie was dead set on going, she was so excited to do something with her school friends.  How could I say no?  She doesn't get the chance to socialize very much outside of school, and she absolutley loves any kind of party, or dance, or gathering of any kind.  I know most people will not understand my concern, why I am nervous and overprotective. 

My main issue is that Katie is so trusting, so friendly, and so naiive, that she might not recognize "trouble" if it is happening right in front of her.  I know I can't put her in a bubble.  I know I can't hold her hand all the time.  It is important for her to grow as a person, as an individual, to be seperate from her family sometimes.  I want her to be happy.  I want her to shine.  I want her to have real friends that want to spend time with her and call her on the phone and go to dances with her.  But there will always always always be that fear within me, whenever she is doing something new for the first time.  The fear that someone might harm her, or tease her, or break her heart.  I guess that isn't so different from the fears that I have for my other 2 daughters, but with Katie, it is fear times a million.  So what did I do?  I drove her to the dance with her friend.  I walked her in, and said good-bye.  And while I was at home, having a full blown anxiety attack, Katie was leading the whole dance in the cha-cha slide.  She was having her own Adventures in Autism.

1 comment:

  1. Ok, while I am SOOOOOO excited that you are writing this blog, I am going to have to have Kleenex next to me the entire time. You are awesome and only people with autistic kids will truly get your posts. Thank you so much for doing this. Go Katie!!!!!