Those who read this blog regularly will know that The Rose is in her first relationship.
It is not only her first boy/girl relationship but the first mutually complex relationship she has experienced being a friend too.
She wrote me a very long and beautiful note about this new experience, which in time honoured style she slipped under my door. I have grown to value these notes as magic portals to the real Rose and I have rejoiced and despaired at the content and the emotions they have contained.
I am very lucky. Having the means to communicate so directly and succinctly with an autistic person is a very rare and precious key which I treasure immensely.
In this new note she shared her joy and hope for what may happen with The Boyfriend. It was full of dreams but also a fierce concern for how I might feel. It was phrased quite obliquely and while missing most of the obvious things it was clear she was making considerable effort to understand how, as a parent I might be feeling.
Mainly she was asking for the freedom to be (nearly) 18. She was very candid about her limitations. She sited her past meltdowns and ‘mistakes’ as being over. She also confessed to some lies (which I knew about anyway but understood the reasons for) and said that now I needed to let her prove to me she could be a ‘real grown up daughter’.
The note covered both sides of two A4 sheets. It contained all her hopes and aspirations for her future.
I wrote back. She likes my replies to come to her on email or inbox so she can delete them rather than on paper which she feels bad about throwing away (too messy to keep).
I took a day to phrase my thoughts factually and clearly. I needed her to know the rules, the options and the possible outcomes. I laid out expectations and required behaviour. I set scenes, built boundaries and I shared my feelings.
She didn’t respond.
I hopped about for several days, biting my tongue. Finally I caved in and asked her. She said she hadn’t read it.
I was disappointed. She got agitated. I backed off.
Eventually I simply stated I wanted a reply. She seemed surprised – I shouldn’t have been. A two-way flow of joined up communication with an Aspie is not something I have come to expect and of course she wasn’t really interested in my response as she had said her thing and moved on. But I badly wanted her to have read my email and I desperately needed to hear back from her.
An agonising few days later I got this email:
“Mum, this is the sweetest note I have ever received. Thank you for being so kind and of course I will allow you the time to recover from me wanting to turn into a woman, take all the time you need I am not going to rush you.”
Her note continued with an out pouring of happiness, love and appreciation. An unbelievable gift, written with the maturity she obviously wanted to show she had. Her words were considered and almost formal in their construction. But as I read on through my tears it was the final sentence my newly adult sounding, grown up behaving daughter wrote, which put everything into perspective.
“I hope you’re having a good day at work, please contact me at any time if you are worried, I am here for you Mum. The Brother and I have just finished watching Cloudy With A Chance Of Meat Balls and now we are watching Ratatouille, both my favouritist, bestest films ever. Can we have smiley faces for tea? Thank you for letting me be the person I want to be … A Woman”
Simply wonderful post. Natty has Down syndrome but I hope I can be as good a mum as you when the time comes for her to be independent and stretch her wings as a woman. Thank you for joining #ThisIsMyChild
Thank you for your very kind comment. You are doing a wonderful job yourself.