It’s okay if she bites me


September 5, 2012 by whirlyjoy

Aida turned 14 last week. This means nothing to her, as far as I know, though as with every assumption I make about her, I could be completely wrong. Someday maybe she’ll learn to communicate more complex and abstract ideas than “dinner cheese sandwich 6:00” and will instead berate me: “Mom, I’m really pissed that you blew off my birthday every year!” And my utter joy and profound mother’s guilt will be complete.

I set up a celebration the Sunday before, at the last minute. Dinner at her favorite pizza restaurant, and with my favorite friends since of course she doesn’t have any of her own. At some point as we moved through that day I realized I had no coffee for brewing the next morning. This was completely unacceptable in many ways but posed a real dilemma, because Aida had “Elmo video… Swinging at the park… Pizza restaurant” on her schedule and definitely no stops to buy mom’s coffee. Nor any motivation to work with such a change.

I tried out the thought, “why am I always so negative?” It’s just five minutes, in and out, to get coffee ground and bagged and paid for. Maybe I could even leave the girls in the car together and Aida would stay calm. “IT COULD SO HAPPEN!” I told my Nervous Nellie self.

I anxiously checked the coffee tin again but it was staying stubbornly empty.

Aida’s calm afternoon stretch broke precisely as we prepared to leave, which follows both Murphy’s Law and the Law of Autism (Any anticipated pleasure will generate a meltdown, usually before actual enjoyment has even begun). As we pulled away in the car to head for the playground, Aida was shrieking and banging her head against the back seat.

Mimi, as ever taking her big sister’s quirks (and my coffee addiction) in stride, said “Maybe she’ll calm down at the swings in the park. Then I could watch her for a few minutes, while you run and get your coffee.” I must have looked dubious, because Mimi added, “It’s okay if she bites me. I don’t mind.”

Mimi’s acceptance of Aida’s autism is absolutely clear-eyed and straight from the heart. My acceptance is shaky, bitter, and very, very complicated – not least by the need to protect Mimi from being bitten or otherwise injured. And that damned coffee tin was still empty when I went to bed.

14 thoughts on “It’s okay if she bites me

  1. Elena says:

    I wish I had the same ability as M. to accept what I can’t change… Missing you and thinking of you as we are preparing for a. 14th b-day soon in Paris!


  2. Ioana Paulat says:

    This post has left me with a world of emotions, I don’t know where to begin. Anyway, maybe I’m the first to leave a comment, and I want to say this: I love your writing. It hits the spot. As far as the “It’s okay if she bites me” part, that’s when the tears came.


  3. next time you need coffee, call me. I’ll bring you over some immediately. No trouble. But, you can’t go without coffee!


  4. Misty says:

    Love it. xom


  5. Maggie031511 says:

    Bless Mimi’s kind and gentle little heart. Life can be so hard how do you go without coffee all day? And to be so patient during a meltdown when you need your coffee!


  6. lisagal23 says:

    You’re going to have us all in tears this soon? Well, fine then. Bring it on. I have a feeling it won’t be the last time. Very well done, my dear.


  7. Holly says:

    Sweet M ~ that made me cry as well. Thank you for your writing ~ I so appreciate your humor and the beautiful way you write. You are doing a great job! What kind of coffee do you like? You should never be without coffee 🙂


  8. most of it they said above – but i’m looking forward to your succinct future ‘laws of autism’ that was so well said! it is what it is. hugs (and coffee)


  9. mommasylvia says:

    We have too much in common! I invite you to check out this post on my blog!


  10. diane mallett says:

    I’ve bookmarked your blog. You write beautifully. A much appreciated dose of perspective and reality as we deal with our typically developing teen. His anger/hormone/moodiness seems insignificant in comparison. Wish I could have brought you the coffee.


  11. Amy says:

    What a great idea to blog. I miss you and the girls. I think of you all often. Now I can follow from 3000 miles away!!


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