Julia and I went to Amy’s house last night for a family game night. It was my first time out with more than very close friends that I enjoyed myself. 19 and a half months. I wasn’t my full social self but I didn’t feel like a drain on the energy of the evening -- something that I definitely was many times over this past year. I think I even made a few witty comments -- not sophisticated or complicated, but I actually said a few things that made other people laugh.
There is both joy and sorrow for this step. I no longer carry the burden of my grief into every room I enter. Big whew! I can speak easily of my life, our life, and of David without calling the clouds of doom and despair. But it also mean, at least to me, that David is so far away that my tragedy of losing him no longer colors my every word and deed. Damn. So much is so bitter sweet. Healing, recovery, finding the new normal, whatever you want to call it, is not cure. Like I needed to learn that. Right.
Julia had a very good evening as well. There were 7 girls at this get together who ranged from a year older than Julia to a few years younger. Much of the older girls’ play was too sophisticated for Julia, but the entire group of girls stayed together for most of the evening and Julia was in there with them. I did need to prompt her twice when she stayed behind the group to play quietly in another room. I rounded her up, helped her to bring the toys she was playing with to where the other girls were. Julia found kids to play legos with and also to play Janga. She is very good at Janga. There was a period of time that the girls were running around all three floors of the house and Julia was with them! I reminded her once to speak kindly to one girl when Julia was being too bossy, but other than that, she played and talked and found ways to fit in, albeit at times the fitting in was around the edges of the group. This was her most successful social time, without therapist or much parental intervention. When she got home, she told me she missed a few of the kids and she mentioned them by name.
Julia did not eat at all at the house party. I usually sit her down and make her eat something but she was having such a good and successful time that I did not want her to stop. Food for the soul at least as important as food for the body? I will stuff her full of good food today.
For months, for more than a year, Julia has been participating in small peer group interaction at the IDS clinic twice a week. I have not tested what she has learned there. I had not thought to do so, but last night was a very successful test.
To take a step back, Julia knows most of these kids from school. None are in her class but they ride the bus with her or she sees them on the playground. The kids of the house are very accepting of Julia and their parents encourage them to play with Julia. One of those kids really likes Julia. And so, this was not a blind social interaction. I do not suppose that this would happen at any gathering, but I am so happy that it happened last night.
And now, it is time to get out of bed and wake the sleeping dinosaur and get started with out day. We have a full weekend of therapy and dinner with friends after church tonight. More socializing that I usually do.
And that is good.