The House of Glee has returned from a trip back East in which we celebrated the wedding of my cousin to a lovely woman my brother and I refer to as our "cousin-in-law". The wedding took place outside on my aunt and uncle's Pennsylvania farm. Although it was chilly at times, the sun shone on the wedding day, and afterward, we had the reception in a tent. The day after, we enjoyed a picnic with the local and out-of-town guests.
I return to this blog wondering what I am going to do with it. I wish I were still anonymous, but perhaps the fact that I am not protects me from writing something I would regret publishing later. I can still share stories and songs with you, but I am always going to be holding something of myself back. I don't want to overshare, but there are times when writing about some of my struggles could be of benefit to others. I'm going to take a risk and see if it's true.
Here is what happened at the airport yesterday:
While we were waiting to board our connecting flight, Lucia struck up a conversation with a friendly passenger. The passenger (whom I will name No-Boundaries) told me that she worked with autistic children. That's great, I thought. I figured that she picked up on some of my daughter's mannerisms and could tell that there was something going on that had not yet been diagnosed. Then, she turned to my daughter and asked, "Are you autistic?" Lucia responded with, "What's autistic?"
As No-Boundaries began to explain to Lucia, I shook my head and explained to No-Boundaries that we were waiting for a diagnosis from a professional who would give a full-spectrum of tests. No-Boundaries overrode me to say loudly that Lucia probably had Asperger syndrome and expounded on all the symptoms that people with autism and Asperger syndrome had that Lucia shared.
I wish that I had just told No-Boundaries that it was inappropriate for her to ask Lucia (or any child!) if s/he had autism and not to diagnose my child in the airport, thank you. I was cautious about calling any more attention to this one-sided conversation so I restated that we had been counseled to avoid labels until Lucia received the full-spectrum of tests. No-Boundaries' husband piped up, "And you will get the full-spectrum. You're going to miss those questions when [your daughter] becomes withdrawn."
Someone else would have had sharp, witty responses that would have silenced No-Boundaries and her husband. (Maybe someone else would have knocked them in the teeth, too.) However, there was no winning in this situation. All they could register was the sound of their own voices. Then, No-Boundaries said goodbye to Lucia and told us what a wonderful child we had.
It was obvious that No-Boundaries had issues of her own. I was incredulous that someone who claimed to love working with autistic children and could spout off a pat definition of autism in terms of how it related to social interactions could have no sense of emotional intelligence or sensitivity awareness. I had an armload of armchair diagnoses for her, too.
We don't know yet what Lucia's specific diagnosis is. We are committed to helping her through her challenges. It may well be that Lucia helps Bede and me through our challenges as well-- namely, learning how to tell busybodies to go sink their heads in pots of noodles.
I'll admit that I just edited myself. My original sentence was much ruder.