Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A day inside her eyes; the pure joy of being let into my daughter's life

Yesterday was an ordinary day by anyone's standard, but in our house it was an exceptional day. In an effort to spend some special time with the girls, I took Little Miss M out shopping yesterday with my mother and sister and one of her amazing pseudo-aunties. (Today, K-Bear and I will brave some adventures together.) Yesterday, Little Miss M and I did not really do anything terribly exciting -- a trip to Sam's Club, a few stores and then the super crowded mall. We met everyone for a grown-up lunch at a nice restaurant, but it was nothing extraordinary. However, what happened yesterday was extraordinary. Little Miss M was engaged for a great majority of the day. Yes, she still retreated into the elaborate stories of her mind and yes, she requested my phone a few times to play some Minion Rush. But, overall, she was engaged in our day. She laughed along with jokes she truly seemed to understand, and she even made funny jokes herself. I was smiling from ear to ear the entire day.

When Little Miss M was officially diagnosed with Autism at five years old, after countless specialists could not seem to put a name to her difficulties, I mourned the little girl I would not have. I wish I knew then what I know now. The hours and days I wasted mourning and crying for what I thought I lost, I just cannot get them back. So, instead, I gobble up every precious minute I do get.

Most families see taking their eight year old shopping as a chore or as a mundane daily event. I see it as a miracle. Little Miss M walked some and sat in her chair some. She told me when she was tired. She told me when she was nervous. Little Miss M advocated for herself throughout the whole day. She braved a very crowded and loud mall, because she was in control. She teased her Grandmother, appropriately. She smiled and laughed and shared her grand plans for our distant Disney World vacation. It was nothing short of a magical day.

All those years ago, I didn't know that I could still do typical things in our very unique and wonderful way. I am so proud of my girl. She kept it together while out in public. I'm proud of myself, I knew enough to take her to the yogibo store and let her roll around on the beanbag chairs. (Amazing sensory pillows and chairs, we even purchased one.) It was a wonderful day. Little Miss M was amazing and so was our day.

My message today? Don't give up -- experiences and life may not be what you once thought they would be, but they aren't wrong and in fact, they are extremely special.

Amanda is living each day, one day at a time and finding pure joy in each smile or giggle.

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