play date

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{image is the cover of the book, Rosita Runs Away, written and illustrated by Brooke.}

“When’s my play gonna be?” she asked for the hundredth time that day.

I didn’t want to admit it, wouldn’t have admitted it, but I was putting off writing the email.

I’d tried to convince her to reconsider her vision, to think about inviting just one friend instead of a group, to structure it differently, to call it something else. She would have none of it. She knew what she wanted. She’d written the play, assigned the parts, gathered the costumes, even written a list of who would hold hands with whom for the curtain call. The only job left was scheduling a date and sending the damned email. And I was stalling.

I don’t like what I’m about to say. It embarrasses me and I hope that someday, if Brooke chooses to read all of this, she’ll know that I wrote it because I was embarrassed. Because I thought it important to share the lesson, one of so very many, that she’s taught me about, well, everything. I want her to know how sorry I am that I doubted her, that I let my insecurities hinder her, if even for a moment. That I know better. That I’m sorry that I sometimes – okay, often –  have to be taught the same damned lessons again and again before they stick. But here it is.

I was stalling because I was worried that the girls would think her idea odd. That they wouldn’t want to come and that I’d have to try to explain that to her. That both of us (yes, I’m admitting that I mean both of us) would have to bear the sting of rejection.

Whether or not she sensed any of that, it mattered to her not a whit.

“When’s my play gonna be?” she asked for the hundred-and-first time that day.

I finally wrote the email.

Ladies,

Brooke wanted to invite your daughters for a “play date.” She’s hoping that they might be interested in joining her to put on a play that she’s written, Rosita Runs Away, and to perform it for us, the parents, afterward. She has a script and costumes. It’s pretty short and very simple, but should be fun.

She’s hoping to do it this Sunday afternoon, maybe 1:00-2:30 ish? Please let me know if the girls would be up for it. She’s very excited about the idea.

Thanks!

Jess

And then I waited. And waited. And four hours later, as I sat choking on the toxic fumes of my own insecurity, I sent the email to a group of close friends with the explanation, “So I sent this to four moms today. Three of their daughters are autistic, one NT. Brooke really, really wants to do it. Please tell me not to panic that I haven’t heard back from anyone. I’m kind of panicking.” They told me not to panic.

Within an hour, I had three yeses. The fourth came twenty minutes later.

I called Brooke over to let her know. She seemed happy, but her face registered no surprise. Of course it didn’t.

As for me, I learned, yet again, that my insecurity has no place in my parenting, that my girl knows what she’s doing, and that sometimes my only job is to set the date and send the damned email.

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 {image is the last page of the book, featuring a character named Alina and the text, “Rosita wasn’t lost anymore.”}

 

11 thoughts on “play date

  1. You learned your lesson well, Jess! Don’t look back. You’re not going in that direction! Brooke will always lead you in a forward direction. She’s got great judgement regarding her own capabilities and when she’s ready or not ready. You’re a great Mama!

    Love you,
    Mom

  2. It’s hard to explain on a normal circumstance how to handle rejection to a child…even more so with a child like Brooke. I was always more nervous when my oldest (who has Aspergers) would be invited somewhere. Often I’d end up staying at a party or something I’d have rather not just to ensure he was, indeed, having a good time and was included. He’s now 19, works part time mon-fri doing light janitorial work, and is one of the most well adjusted kids I know. I had to learn to sit back and let him decide sometimes what situations he was ok in or not….and yes, I had to be taught it many times too.

  3. You are brave for admitting this! We all feel it though. And if this helps the same thing happened with my “Katie”. The nt sib. He wanted to put on a magic show when he was young and I was so embarrassed and unsure. I let him do it and I literally ended up with 25 adults and children in my living room clapping and cheering for him. I was still embarrassed but good for him! He rocked it. So will she

  4. God Bless. You teach me lessons every time I read your posts. We should all embrace the freedom to listen to our hearts and not to our doubts and fears. Your daughter is so brave and so are you. I admire you both and consider you both heroes in a world full of judgment. Keep strong. ❤

  5. Let me laugh and tear up a bit. I am so with you. I know that pain and insecurity too. You are not alone. We are not perfect but doing the best we can every day. We grow with our kids. Thanks for sharing.

  6. A couple of weeks after graduating HS my high functioning Autistic son Wesley was called for a job interview to be a bagger at the local grocery store, we had all the same concerns and worries as you expressed. We had Wes dress up in nice clothes, get a haircut, practice the interview (yours truly as the interviewer) etc. I took him to the store – 15 min early of course. Wes went into the office by himself and she shut the door, I waited outside. Not even 2 minutes latter Wes came out with a strange look on his face and told me “she wants to talk to you” I went into the office, shut the door and then the manager burst out into uncontrollable laughter. She finally calmed down enough to explain that the first question she asked was ” Wes, why do you want to work here” Wes replied ” I don’t want to work here, but my mom and dad are making me get a job” She said any kid that’s that honest she had to hire him, but, please bring him back tommorow and help him with an answer. He still works there – going on 8 years now. Would we be the loving, nurturing, teaching …….. parents that we all are if we didn’t have those cares and concerns??

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