today is a special day.
it is my daughter’s ninth birthday!
as per an old family tradition, the birthday girl gets to choose the meal (or where to eat), she chose ‘red lobster’.
the girl’s got taste!
my mom came with us. and before we left together to the restaurant, she produced a wrapped gift for ziona, compleat with a card in an envelope. inside the box was a ‘girl’ outfit. something my mom has grown to feel comfortable about is buying girl things for zee.
but zee couldn’t get over the name on the outside of the envelope. remarking excitedly “she even got my name right!” it was more important than the gift. it was validation, it was recognition of who she is.
of course, being autistic, she missed that she could’ve thanked my mom outright instead of referring to her in third person, for not just the gift but for the whole name thing, so i reminded her gently to do so. then made sure my mom understood just how important, how big of a deal it was to have the name on the envelop right. zee hadn’t even bothered to read the card inside, until prompted. once again her eyes brightened with anticipation as she openend it.
it reminded me of a scene in the movie “splash” where tom hanks’ character presents darryl hannah’s character with a wrapped gift. being a mermaid, she isn’t familiar with a ‘present’ and gushes about the beautiful ‘box’ she holds in her hands, until he tells her to open it. and she, genuinely surprised says, “there’s more?”
so zee opened the envelop to find a gamestop giftcard inside. she was unfamiliar with what a gift card is. i had to explain to her that it is like money that she can spend on things at that store. she was thrilled all over again.
i love being a mom!
is there anything quite as heart-warming as the genuine innocence of a child’s heart? it is like peering into the mind of an angel, seeing the world through the clarity of their pure eyes!
of course, there are moments of our life together that get pretty messy. the tantrums mostly…the ocd of her anger at feeling dirty and the constant insistence upon hand-washing. the low threshhold she has for the slightest frustration. but even in those very volatile instances, she is nothing less than completely honest about what she is feeling.
the other day she asked me if i wished she were really a boy, (ironic since her body says she is) and if i wished she didn’t have autism. i quite nearly cried at the beauty of her inquiry. she simply needed to know. despite the many times a day i tell her how dear she is to me. she had to know that i not only accept her, but wouldn’t have her any other way.
of course, i reassured her that i would love her no matter what, but sensing her need i added the “but i love you the way you are, and wouldn’t change a thing”.
she smiled, then looked worried, “but what about when i get my body changed?” referring i guessed to the ‘wouldn’t change a thing” remark.
i reminded her that we are all constantly changing. new cells replacing old ones, getting taller, hair getting longer…getting older. then asked her “do you think that there’s anything you could do or say, or become, that would make me not love you?”
a big hug was the reward!
i melted into her love.