I’m already nearly in tears. I make mental note to never get to the school early again. The waiting is killing me. It’s 2:28pm and the last ten minutes have been pure torture. Another mom is sitting nearby with her typical daughter. They are waiting, too. The mom seems just as anxious. I have never met her, but I feel the need to cut the tension with some small talk.
“I still cry every time I pick her up from school.”
“I know what you mean,” she replies. “It seems funny. It’s not like she’s away from me that long but I am always so anxious to see her again.”
“Me too.” I turn to look down the hallway for the millionth time. Nope. Not yet. “It’s just such a blessing to know she is so happy here.”
A truly adorable little blond-haired girl is making her way to the lobby, escorted by one of the dozens of truly adorable young ladies that teach here. Mom and sister perk up immediately and the little girl having seen her mama starts squawking sweetly and flapping with excitement. Mom eases down to her knees and opens her arms widely – her baby nestles in deep and Mom is clearly melting to have her baby back. Mom asks little one about her day at school but the little one is unable to answer with words so instead her body language does the talking for her. She is truly happy to see her mother.
I am now bursting at the seams with anticipation of getting my hands on my RM.
Buses have shown up and other students are making their way with their escorts to the front door. One by one. …“Autism is one word, but there is no one autism…” Each of the children ranging in age from 3 to 13 have their own signature style of exiting the building. Some are squawkers, some are flappers, some are just quiet and have the most peaceful looks on their faces. Regardless of the way they work it down the autism runway – they are all clearly members of The Club.
Now you might think I am an idiot, or just plainly a jackass – but I don’t view my daughter as a Club Member. Maybe it is because of all she has already been through medically just to be here. Or maybe it is just that I think she is the freaking most fabulous creature ever. Yes. I meant to word it that way. Freaking. Most. Fabulous. Creature. Ever. I really do not know why it is so hard for me to look at my little girl as autistic.
But here she comes. In all her glory she is making her way down that runway singing her heart out with lyrics no one is the wiser to and bouncing so joyously on those toes with every step. She is happy. HAPPY. I don’t know how I managed to pop out two of the most cheerful, positive rugrats on the planet – but apparently I did. And I do believe that nothing could change that about them. Not even autism.
I slip off my chair as she sees me and I throw my arms out wide. She runs to me screeching with excitement and smiling so hard I wonder how she can see where she is going with those chubby cheeks pushing up at her now squinty eyes. She throws herself into me hard and I squeeze her so tight perhaps I cause her to lose a breath. But no matter – we are both so excited to be reunited once again.
I stand up and she takes my hand as we walk to the car. She is bouncing on clouds every step of the way. As it should be. Who am I to judge my daughter by her disabilities rather than her happiness?
It may have a name – autism – but it doesn’t have anything on my bouncy, flappy, beautiful girl. She is my daily gift to remind me that we are all unique by design. Pure and simple. We are all graceful in our own way. Whether we sashay, roll, stumble or toe-walk our way down that runway.
A toe-walking she will go. A toe-walking she will go.
She is mine. Fashionably bouncy and ALL. MINE.