Julia is doing some incredible things these days. Yesterday, when we went to the movies to see the latest Narnia adventure, she was the one to remember to bring the headphones when we got into the car. In the theater, she seemed to enjoy the adventurous parts that were a bit scary, as well as the happy parts. She had not really liked movies with people but this fantastical adventure tickled her. She loves the odd names of some of the characters. And then, she did this fantastic thing: She jiggled my sleeve. I looked at her and she looked at me. And then she turned back to the screen as if she was sharing some feeling and then leading me back to the movie. This is behavior so simple that very, very young babies do it, but kids with autism find it utterly unfathomable. And Julia did it!!
And I sat there, in the darkness, wanting to jump up and down and shout out and tell everyone there.
We bought a small tree yesterday. Very small, shorter than Julia. She protested a little bit. She wanted something bigger. I see over and over as we get ready for Christmas in the very modified way that Julia does miss the way we usually do it. She remembers. She has that history. I don't say much about how this year is different for our celebrations, but I have the distinct feeling that she just knows. Empathy! She did not fight me on the size of the tree.
I will not take out our usual decorations. I bought a few at Michael's yesterday, and we will make some. That will be enough. What I am doing is just enough. Constantly just enough, and always less than usual. But to myself I am promising to give this kid of mine, no, both kids of mine, a grand and glorious Christmas next year or the year after. We will celebrate again. I cannot let go of the optimistic feeling that we will.
For now though, I have been teary all day.