Friday we arrived safely in Aspen, or as Emma described it, “We have to take two planes, then get to see Granma!” Despite my reservations about not having any seats together, people were kind and accommodating, several happily moved for us and we ended up all together. I didn’t have to plead with anyone, or explain; I think this was a first!
Upon our arrival Nic and Emma ran ahead, first Nic flinging his entire body against my aging mother with all his might, so happy was he to see her and then Emma, more timidly perhaps, but with no less excitement wrapped her arms around her granma and hugged her. We have been through this routine dozens and dozens of times, taking two airplanes, arriving in Aspen, my mother always there at the airport to greet us and never has Emma greeted her granma like this without at least some prompting. My mother looked up at me with her beautiful smile and said nothing. She didn’t need to. Emma was now holding one of her arthritic hands and exclaiming, “Oh, Granma hurt her fingers!” But instead of then racing off or letting go, she continued to hold her granma’s hand, tenderly examining her arthritic fingers, the same misshapen fingers my grandmother had, that as a child, I too had found so fascinating.
Later as Richard was unpacking and I was setting my computer up in the adjoining bedroom, Emma came in and said, “Going to go outside. We can go outside and talk. Talk with Mommy.” She then opened the door to the porch directly outside our bedroom and sat in one of the chairs. “Mommy sit here,” she said, pointing to the other chair.
Obediently I did as she directed and we talked. Emma talked about how high it was from where we were sitting to the ground downstairs where she could see the dogs playing. She talked about how I was sitting with her in the chair next to her. She walked the length of the porch and talked about how she couldn’t reach the dogs, nor could she reach the ground downstairs. We discussed distance and the difference between being inside and outside and then she stood in front of me and said, “Now I’m going to sit on Mommy’s lap.”
Which she then did. And I wrapped my arms around her, while we looked out at the Rocky Mountains, jagged and covered in snow and breathed in the crisp mountain air together.
The next morning, outside with the dogs, who were behind me looking at Emma.
For more on Emma’s journey through a childhood of autism, go to: Emma’s Hope Book