the silence becomes a comfortable one


{image is a photo of me and Katie, nose to nose in a pool. I’m guessing it’s 2004.}

An uncomfortable silence settles over the car following what I’m sure she’d characterize as the lecture I’ve just spent the last ten minutes of our drive delivering. I’m not sure what else to say as I feel like I’ve pretty much said it all. There’s been no response.

“Katie,” I say, “Do you have anything to add?”

She’s quiet. Thanks to lessons learned, I don’t fill the silence. I wait.

And wait.

“I don’t trust myself to speak right now,” she finally says.

How many times have I said those words? Those exact words. Scripts are not just for the echolalists in the room. 

“Honestly?” she says. “I’m angry. And I know that I have no right to be angry. So I think it’s best if I don’t say anything.”

“I respect that,” I say. “A lot.”

She nods.

“It’s a really mature reaction.”

“Thanks,” she says.

“I do want you to talk to me at some point, okay? It’s important. But it doesn’t have to be now.”

“Thanks,” she says.

The silence becomes a comfortable one.

We drive.

5 thoughts on “the silence becomes a comfortable one

  1. Just wanted to say I love this blog. I’m 18 and have been following for the past year or so and your daily posts start my day every morning. Your writing style is incredible (jealous!) and I feel like I am a part of your little family. Thank you for taking the time to share with us your life and lessons/triumphs along the way.

    PS Is there an app to read your blog on instead of Facebook? If not, there should be. 😉

  2. My son was 3 in 2004 too so I am guessing our kids are about the same age. And, given your description of your drive, we may be traveling pretty similar roads right now. Maybe not … but it’s possible. Parenting this age in this age is so much more difficult than I anticipated. I’ve had all these years of parenting practice, you’d think I’d be experienced enough to feel like I know what I am doing! But I don’t. What I really came here to say is that I applaud this. I give you a hand-over-my-heart-nod-of-the-head salute . . . because THIS is how I should have learned to interact with my children. This is what I want it to be like — thoughtful, respectful discourse rather than the fear-based, loud stand-offs we’ve been having for a while. I am heartened to know it’s possible.

  3. “the lessons learned”….. the gift you have received from Brooke to sit….to be still…. “I don’t fill the silence”….”I wait”…..

    “I am sitting across the table from John Elder Robison, having dinner. It is the first time we have met. He is speaking about the “gifts” of autism. He is telling me that he knows that with “little ones like [mine] it can be hard to spot the gifts….”

    Indeed….the sparkling treasures that Brooke has brought to you and to us… be still….to find the silence….to wrap yourself in it…find comfort and solace in it…and wait..

    A most brilliant and treasured gift……I thank Brooke….I thank my Dawson….I thank the many autistic children and adults that bring this gift to the world.

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