A friend of mine wrote this as his Facebook status not too long ago. He lives far away in a tropical paradise, and believe it or not… we’ve only met once. But sometimes, it only takes just one meeting to make a life long impression on someone. This friend definitely did.
My friend has a beautiful daughter named Celia. Celia and Willy met about four years ago at a barbecue, and there was an instant connection between the two of them. I remember that they didn’t say a whole lot to each other, but they didn’t have to. They showed their friendship through actions and giggles, and when it was time to say goodbye, the embraced like they had known each other forever.
Fast forward four and a half years later. Celia’s dad had this to say:
“It can be really intense. Frustrating.
Dropping Celia off at school, I say hi to her aide, kneel down, kiss and hug her. Sending her off into someone else’s care for 7 hours. She looks at me, direct eye contact. Her eyes are sad. She hugs me and says don’t go. For anyone that knows autism, this is huge! To be expressive emotionally. It’s one of Celias gifts. However she still can’t verbally tell me why. What she needs. Is something going on? My worst fears kick in. The inner voice. Is something wrong? Is a kid messing with her? A mean teacher? Worse? My heart swells. I want to just take her home. I want her to use words to tell me…. What? But she can’t. What’s going on in there? When I was a kid her age someone told me the world was going to end and I would be thrown into a pit of hell fire if I didn’t “convert”. I shattered. For weeks I was a mess. Lost. I acted up and my family had no idea what was going on. Finally, thanks to the loving awareness and encouragement of my mom, I told her. She hugged me and told me it was going to be ok. The healing began, although the ordeal haunted me for years to come. It makes me wonder,… What is frightening my daughter? What emotions, feelings, fears are holding her back? I was able to communicate to my mom and she was able to help me. What is Celia not able to tell me??? What am I missing?? If I could get one super power it would be the ability to read her mind. Only hers, I don’t want to know what’s in everyone else’s head. Just hers. Day by day we take small but significant steps. Day by day I pray her world opens up to us.
I pray for the same things too. I pray that my boy feels brave enough to come out of his world and open up to me. If only for a few seconds. I pray that my boy’s anxiety lessons, and allows him to experience more of what life has to offer. And I also pray that with more language, comes more understanding (expressively and receptively).
Thank you my friend for sharing Celia with us. Your small steps will become bigger and bigger with time, and she will open up to you one day, quite possibly when you least expect it.