K thought the day was perfect. The sleepover, perfect. I chose girls who are nice to K, and ones I knew wouldn't cause tween drama. Sure, there were times K was off doing her own thing, but there were also times she was totally engaged with her friends, as they slathered on pounds of make-up, or watched TV. The next morning she happily sat and did Shrinky Dinks with one of them. K declared it her best birthday, ever, and it was. She was happy, like really happy, which is something I don't often see.
Of course, I had a more difficult time with her turning double digits. Eight years until 18, kept going through my head. Where are we? Where are we going? How will we get there?
She's still young, people tell me. She is, but these past 10 years have flown by, and we are still gasping for air at times.
She's doing so well, people tell me. Except, they don't see when she's not doing well, and I am not one to overshare.
We have 8 short years until she's 18. We have puberty. We have the hardest years of a kid's life ahead of us, and it scares me. I know I'm supposed to be positive all the time, but the older K gets, the easier it is to let doubt take hold. There are so many things K wants out of life, things she wants, but the way she is wired makes her path so hard. It just does. I know there are some who don't want to hear that, but it's the truth.
We recently had some new testing done, and it makes me sad. Let's just say, being treated a certain way, and basically traumatized by certain people (you can guess where this all happened), have killed any ability she has to cope. She has so much potential, but reaching it? Not easy. Finding good school placements? Not easy. Having faith it will all be OK? Not easy.
I know these tests don't define K. I know they aren't always accurate. What the psychologist saw was a true representation of K, though, beyond academic skills, which can wax and wane. Beyond any box she checked off, or circle she filled in. She saw K as a person, as we see her, and that part is the most important. It's what gives us the most accurate information.
Her doctor said K was one of the hardest kids she's tested. Heck, they didn't even finish all the tests. So, she's a kid you might look at and say is high functioning, but she doesn't function highly at all.
I shouldn't be sad, but I am. I can't help it. I'm a mom, it's what we do. I desperately want K to be accepted and loved and given a chance. I will always fight for that. Unfortunately, we don't live in a perfect world ready to love and accept and give kids like K a chance. We don't live in a world where it's easy to be different.
I do need to live in a world where my my kid is happy and fulfilled, though, and even that, right
now, is hard to imagine.
I wish everyday could be like her birthday. Where she was excited and happy and unconditionally loved by everyone around her. I wish I looked at 10 the same, innocent way, she does. The one thing that gets me through is reading blogs by those who are young and autistic (Autism Speaks debate, aside.) Yes, we only have 8 years, but we also have 8 whole years. There's hope, and I just need to focus on that.
10 is magical to my girl. I hope I can see the magic, too. For now, I'll just sit here and relive that perfect day.