"Every parent wonders, I'm sure. What will they be like when they grow up? Will they be successful? Happy? Fulfilled? Have we prepared them? Have we sacrificed enough?
I wonder these things, too.
I lie awake, at night, imagining scenarios.
What will it be like for her? Will her sister always take care of her?
At the grocery store today our cashier was chatty. A nervous chatter, accompanied by little eye contact. She was young and keenly efficient in her running though of our order. She didn't read my 'too tired to talk' expression and began asking questions about my order, while interjecting tidbits about her favourite items to buy at the store. "Do you always buy ice-cream? I love ice-cream. My favourite kinds are Ben and Jerry's and Chapman's but only when they are on sale. My best friend loves ice-cream, too. He likes Baskin Robbins but not me, I like Ben and Jerry's and Chapman's but only when they are on sale." She went on, and I managed a smile, relieved that I wouldn't really have to participate in the conversation. As she went on expertly bagging our groceries I let the thought enter my mind. I didn't want to think it, I didn't want to go there today. Today was for getting groceries and visiting friends and enjoying summer. The thought nagged, and just as our cashier began to chat about the virtues of neapolitan, my brain defianlty asked:
'Will this be Kate, someday?'
Will she be the girl working at the grocery store? Considered by her colleagues to be on the seriously quirky side of normal. Too high-functioning (to use a dangerous phrase) to receive any kind of services, and too socially awkward to develop meaningful relationships. Will the moms that go through her line be too tired to listen to her chatter on in a futile attempt to make a connection, any connection?
Will her unusual ways make it impossible for her to work, at all? Will she continue to struggle with language and misread intentions to the point where she cannot find a place in the working world? She's so confident right now, you know. She's so convinced that she is a superhero; famous for this silly little blog, and a total ham. What if that is not enough?
Will she find her groove? Will the language piece someday click? Will the thousands of hours of therapy give her the social skills she needs to compete? Can she regulate her nervous system, her emotions, her sensory issues well enough to manage? I know she is perfect to us, but will that be enough for her?
Our cashier is asking for my credit card. My girls have been silently listening to her ice-cream monologue while my brain defies me once again. She has so quickly and efficiently run through my order. She is obviously wonderful at her job. I hand her my card, feeling guilty for my thoughts. She smiles at my girls, they smile back. She really is very lovely.
"Hague Daas", I say. "Anything with caramel."
She makes eye contact. Her smile genuine, her laugh easy.
"That's my dad's favourite, too."
"He sounds like a smart man." I say.
"Probably average." She says, all too seriously.
We exchange more smiles and we're off.
"She seemed happy didn't she girls? Sort of, fulfilled."
Happy Mail to:
27 Wellington Row
Saint John, NB
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Grace and Kate's mom. (Shanell)