Sunday, April 17, 2011
As Tyler gets older, I marvel at how I can have a full on conversation with him. He's not even two yet, but somehow we can talk about the things he likes in a book, his favourite numbers and letters, what he did in his diaper and how he is feeling.
I have been solo with Alanna this week since her mom is away with Tyler, so there's been lots of good daddy-daughter time. Despite all this time with her, I miss her. She's been withdrawn lately and very hard to engage. It has felt like it used to two years ago when she was there but it was like I wasn't in the room.
I can interact with her, but there is a lot of prompting going on and it seems so forced. This isn't always true - usually she is more engaging and it is easier, but not lately.
We went to the pool today because Alanna usually loves swimming and it's great exercise. We both had meltdowns... her at the pool, and me in the parking lot after the pool. She wouldn't give up her blanket and I think was just too anxious today to venture in (this is highly unusual). So we sat and watched the kids swimming for about fifteen minutes, then left. She was frustrated, I was frustrated. Going to the pool is a hassle and I felt like it was a waste of $10 and driving there and back.
While I was cradling Alanna I watched all the other kids and thoughts crept into my head.
I wish Alanna could be like that.
I wish she could be normal just for this afternoon.
I wish she could talk to me.
I wish she didn't get anxious.
I wish I had my daughter back.
Some parents have this whole "autism is a gift" thing going. I am just not there. I choose to fight autism because I do not think that the world is suddenly going to wake up and bend over backwards for people with disabilities like Estee Klar. Instead, I want to equip Alanna to be as independent as possible while still being herself... indeed, the job and goal of any parent.
Today, for a few moments, I stopped looking at my daughter as a person I loved and instead looked at her as a disabled person. When I realized in horror what I was thinking, the guilt kept on coming. Because if a girl's daddy can't recognize her as a person with strengths and talents, worthy of love and with something to contribute, then how will the world treat her? It was only a few minutes, but those are thoughts that should never enter my head.
I wish I could stop wishing she didn't have autism.
I wish I was I better parent.
I wish so many things.