Last night my 16 year old daughter performed at her high school’s African American Culture Showcase. She worked the crowd from the beginning, and we were singing and enjoying her performance. She received a standing ovation, it was amazing! She loves to perform, singing and acting….did I mention singing? Last week she was in the musical at the high school. I’m very proud of my daughter, she’s doing what she loves and enjoying her life.
My daughter has the best optimistic, positive outlook on life, she just loves it and she truly loves the people that are special to her. She auditioned for the school play last year and this past fall and didn’t make it. She was very disappointed, but after she came home and we discussed it, she was just fine. When it was time to audition for the musical I didn’t want her to audition because I just knew she wouldn’t make it and wanted to spare her feelings of disappointment, but I allowed her to audition for the musical and she made the cast! She went to every rehearsal, practiced the dance routines and worked hard. She did a great job at the musical.
I say all this because my daughter is autistic. She was diagnosed when she was 4 years old, with Aspergers Syndrome. Here’s Wikipedia’s definition of autism:
Autism is a disorder of neural development characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior. These signs all begin before a child is three years old. Autism affects information processing in the brain by altering how nerve cells and their synapses connect and organize; how this occurs is not well understood. It is one of three recognized disorders in the autism spectrum (ASDs), the other two being Asperger syndrome, which lacks delays in cognitive development and language, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (commonly abbreviated as PDD-NOS), which is diagnosed when the full set of criteria for autism or Asperger syndrome are not met.
I have been very protective of my daughter, always feeling I need to explain to people and strangers we interact with that she is autistic. I guess I do this because people are cruel and I want to stop any rude remarks or looks when people interact with her. She wants to interact with people all the time, but her communication skills make it difficult for people to understand her at times. My baby doesn’t let that stop her, and trust me she knows when people are being mean to her. She keeps it moving, and will leave people alone when they are not nice. I had to really get her to understand that one. The pressures that teenagers have are very stressful for them, with the recent reports of girls putting videos on YouTube asking strangers if they are pretty, drugs and grades to name a few. Knowing those pressures, I am very proud of my daughter for being positive and having the attitude she has about life.
I’ve been in a real funk the last couple of weeks, secretly wondering why this and that isn’t working or going the way “I” want it to go. Just this morning, I wanted to snap at the woman that parked in “my” parking space in front on my townhouse this morning. I really wanted to say something to her. They were going next door to do work on the vacant townhouse to prepare it for rental. How did this woman know she parked in my space? I know that this is a part of menopause and just life in general, that’s why I haven’t been complaining to anyone, just working it out and praying about my situation. But let me tell ya, it hasn’t been easy, wanting to scream and shout to ease the tension. On top of that, I have a cold I’ve been nursing this week. My child has shown me that we need to keep our head up and remember that no matter what the situation, we should look at things positively, all the time. God has a way of showing and giving you the answers you need.
I was talking to a dear friend this morning who turned 50 today. We were celebrating and chatting and talking about how blessed we are. I told her about the performance and she knows what I’ve been through the last 16 years and celebrates my daughter with me.
We have challenges as a family, but she is a vital part of our family, and I love both of my children dearly. She is my encouragement, my blessing from God, my oldest child. The cloud that I put over my head has just cleared and the sun is shining. Look around you for encouragement if you feel you don’t have any, everything isn’t as bad as “we” think they are. Thank you sweetie for being an encouragement to your momma, I love you. Enjoy the performance!