I used to believe I could cure Emma. I used to believe if I just looked hard enough I would find the thing that would take her autism away. I read the memoirs by parents who, through various bio-medical or behavioral interventions had “recovered” kids, I avoided reading the memoirs by parents who did not. I used to believe that by force of will, hard work, focus, dedication and diligence I too would one day have a daughter who had gained membership to that exclusive club of “recovered children.”
I no longer believe that. However that does not mean she cannot be helped. Emma can grow, learn and progress as we all can. It just takes her much, much longer and requires a great deal more support.
Emma has a stomach bug in addition to her other ailments. She was up on and off all night. Her ears are bothering her, her stomach hurts, her bowels are sluggish and blocked and despite all of this, despite having just thrown up what little food she ate for breakfast, she is cheerful. “Belly go bang bang,” she said, before turning on Michael Jackson’s Beat It.
Belly go bang-bang is what Emma calls the sensation she feels before she throws up. It’s an apt description. Right now she is singing to MJ’s incomprehensible lyrics and dancing. It’s a muted version of her usual singing and dancing, but given how uncomfortable she must feel, it’s admirable.
As we lurched through traffic yesterday morning, headed for the emergency room with Emma, Richard said, “Well, you couldn’t accuse us of having boring lives.”
No, you really couldn’t. And then for some reason I thought of Donald Trump’s hair. Why this arbitrary and completely ridiculous image came to mind, I have no idea. But it made me smile. His wacky, and timeless, I might add, hairstyle is one of a number of constants in life that make me laugh. I’m grateful for that.
For more on Emma’s journey through a childhood of autism, go to: Emma’s Hope Book.