My autistic daughter turns 20 tomorrow. We hosted a party for her and her friends from university. She is just completing her second year. She spent the first semester of this year in Asia on a study abroad program. Never in a million years did I think that my autistic daughter would be where she is today. I am so proud of her, and so thrilled for her.
Friendship has always been a struggle for her. She is verbal, but not social in most situations. If there is a game, or a task or her comfort level is strong then she is hysterically funny, smart as a whip and has deep opinions on a variety of topics.
Tonight there we 20 of us there to remind her of our love for her. I asked that people would bring a token of their love, found, made or purchased — and then tell her about why they picked it so that when she can’t remember that she is loved (364 days a year) she will have these items to remind her of their love. It was so beautiful to hear them all encourage her and tell her about how much she is loved.
Finals are next week, and then grad week, and then her friends all return home and she is left here in town. Without structure and spending as much time as she is able looking for work. The drop off is real, and it is usually very hard. I hoping that she is able to hold on to these moments to carry her through until the fall when they return. Change is always hard to bear.