a day apart

What follows is the last journal entry that I will share from Nantucket. It is somewhat pouty and self-indulgent in nature. Considering our surroundings, I find that to be very annoying so I apologize. However, it was real and it was where I was when I was writing, so I give you the unsanitized version. Hopefully, you’ll bear with me through it.

It is the last, in part, because I find that I need to write in real time. Blogjams aren’t pretty. And there’s just too much to share right now to wait. There was the first day of school yesterday (eek) and some really crazy exciting news about an incredible opportunity / adventure for Katie that I just can’t keep to myself for long. 

So, for now I offer you Tuesday on Nantucket. But stop back in a couple of hours, cause things are getting interesting around here! 

Tuesday on Nantucket


Brooke sat on the beach shredding dried seaweed over her legs.

“Brooke what are you doing?”

“I’m squeeging (hard ‘g’). Are you a squeegee?”

She never looked up. She never stopped shredding. I wasn’t sure what to do to break in. Maybe I should have started shredding seaweed. But I didn’t.

“Brooke, look at all these different colored rocks.”

I put a pretty grey one in front of her. She didn’t look up.

“Brooke, what color is this one?”

She gave it a cursory look. 

“It’s grey.”

She looked back down immediately, peeved.

I picked up a white one and put it next to the grey one.

Before I could say anything, she said, “You wouldn’t talk.”

I sat quietly, worrying another smooth rock between my fingers.

She got up and moved a few feet down the beach.

I sat alone, feeling completely detached from her.

I felt ridiculous sitting on a pile of dried seaweed. 



I looked over trying to strategize. How could I get in?

She must have sensed it, my desperation.

She got up and moved another few feet away from me.


I clutched the smooth rock in my hand, hoping somehow it would loosen the pit in my stomach.

I went back to my chair.

She looked over periodically to be sure I was staying put.

I was.

The rest of the day was mostly the same.

I brought the rock home.

10 thoughts on “a day apart

  1. oh heavens, darlin, if you’re looking to offend me, you’re going to have to try a lot harder than that! lol ..

    we do some modified floortime stuff, which is part of why i felt so foolish being at a loss . you know how sometimes no matter how much knowledge and training you’ve got, you just blank when you get emotional?

    and i love suggestions and advice! the best part of this whole process for me is when the monologue turns into a dialogue, so please, please (all of you out there) don’t be shy! unless you’re related to me of course, cause then, you know, it’s not fun anymore and i may resent the heck out of you for trying to tell me what to do (she said sort of joking)

  2. I need to check ages [Brooke’s] although to be fair I sometimes think that age has nothing to do with anything when it comes to our children.

    I can relate to this completely [apart from the words of course as they came much later]

    I don’t really what to say, although I don’t bother with eye contact any more, partly because I think it’s just too difficult for them and partly because I don’t think it is as important as I once thought it was. Instead we attempt ‘general orientation of body’ because when they’re spinning around etc. it’s hard for people to know if they’re really being talked to.

    Floortime etc are great, but hard to do if you have more than one child.

    Then personality has a lot to do with it. One of mine is unlikely to ever be a very chatty type, he’s just not like that. Another is very chatty, too chatty some would say, depending upon how you define words and conversations…….I’m beginning to ramble.

    What I would say is that sometimes if I had one direct exchange, or sentence / question in any one 24/48 hour period I considered myself extremely lucky. Those moments always came out of the blue. I could never figure out ‘what directly proceeded? etc.’

    We’re with you dearie.

  3. you know, i think about that too, though maybe in slightly different terms. perhaps it’s not ‘personality’ per se, but wherever it comes from, maybe it’s also not that big a deal.

    hell, we all need time apart. and i wouldn’t want someone to ask me what color all the damn rocks are on the beach either. quite frankly, it would probably annoy the crap out of me.

    i look through the lens of all of the years when i couldn’t connect at all and it magnifies these moments that might otherwise be small.

    there’s a whole other post in this concept .. that some of the the things that would roll off our backs with our nt kids are overdramatized b/c we look at them in the context of autism and it gets bigger bigger bigger.

    i appreciate that gentle reminder, though i think i was already aware of it somewhere deep. (hence my sense that the post was pouty and self indulgent perhaps)

    much love back to you!

  4. Please forgive me for asking, but do you all by any chance do floortime? My daughter was exactly like that, and being “playfully obstructive” (a floortime technique to enter her world) really worked.

    I would normally never give suggestions or advice, especially since I wasn’t asked, but I could feel the pain in your blog. Believe me, I knew that same pain for years, and over time, those techniques gave me my daughter back.

    Again, I sincerely hope that didn’t offend you.

  5. xo

    When Foster gets like this, I think a lot about personality, and the fact that he is much like me. So much like me. I don’t know how many times each day – at work and with the kids – I wish I could just have two F-ing daylight minutes to myself. Foster can take those moments whenever he wants, and that’s pretty often.

    I know this is about more than personality.

    love to you…

  6. This is NOT advice as I assume I’m the relative you alluded to.

    I remember my little girl who came home from nursery school every day and walked immediately into the playroom and closed the door for at least an hour or two. She then walked into the kitchen where I was waiting and told me that she was ready to have lunch and chat. Hmmm!

  7. We have moments like this too, and although it hurts and I worry, I need to remember that Kate needs her space too, just like any other child or adult.

    Like you said in your comment above, things tend to get overdramatized because of the autism. Our developmental pediatrician reminded us to not let the autism cloud how we look at our child. That not all behavior is because of the autism; that the behavior is just the child being a child.

  8. Devin does that sometimes. I think about when I am doing something I enjoy doing alone and someone comes along and disturbs me. I move away. I feel it’s the same for him. Self indulgent and pouty is allowed. Feelings are never wrong!

  9. Jess,

    I love reading you older posts. Your growth as a mama, writer, parent-advocate, philosopher, and leader are inspiring to watch.

    As a very belated insight, I wonder if B was watching to see if you stayed put, or to check if you were still there…

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