Just breathe Leah, breathe, were the words her best friend from childhood told her that night, breathe......
Music is a great a comfort source for Leah and that night a song from Anna Nalick had just played, ironic she thought, Breathe (2 AM) Here
It was a surprisingly mild, yet blustery evening in late November of 2011. Leah had been to see her neurologist earlier that day. After a long and stressful day with her daughter who has autism, it was finally quite time out on her patio.
Leah began to feel emotion well up inside her, the words that she so cleverly blocked from her mind the entire afternoon and evening came crashing in.....yes, it looks like you defiantly fit the criteria for having asperger's syndrome, i am so sorry!
The tears came with an incredible force, all the denial, the excuses and doubt, all gone, it was very real!
It wasn't as if Leah didn't know a lot about asperger's or that she shunned or criticized persons with the diagnosis, it was that now she had the guilt of being the one who was responsible for giving her daughter autism!
The past nine years were spent blaming several other sources, not her, not her genes.
Leah, it's not your fault, you know that, said her best friend. Leah couldn't carry on the conversation anymore, breaking out the ugly cry!
At that moment her neighbor whom she had hardly ever spoken to before (no surprise), leaned over her patio railing, hugged her tightly, passed on her last cigarette and said, esto también debe pasar, (this too shall pass) and without any other words, retreated into her apartment.
The following days and weeks were spent on a new mission to learn more about asperger's specifically. The autism spectrum is very wide and inclusive of many abilities and symptoms. After much more research, Leah was comforted in the knowledge she gained that genetics are not thought to be a major contributing factor, that in fact there are many other causation's of autism.
Leah began to wonder about her failed marriage, like the song says, i don't love him, winter just wasn't my season. Her ex was an addict, she spent some time in Al-Anon meetings in the past. It was always emphasised that it wasn't the family, it was the addict, that they were not to blame themselves, however she couldn't help but question, was it really him, or was it actually her? Could it have been here aspergers's, her coldness, or apathetic ways at times?
Continuing the grammar school years from part one (read part one) here
Leah quickly assumed that, in her mind, in order to have friends she must have something they want. Her father worked for a popular baking company that included Peanuts character stickers in all loaves of bread. Leah's father would bring home stacks of stickers for her to collect. Soon Leah realized that trading these highly valuable items gave her what she perceived was popularity. It wasn't long however, before Leah realized, if she didn't have a highly popular item to trade, she was out, no longer popular!
Then at the age of eight, when the promotion was offered again, Leah began her entrepreneurial beginnings. She was no longer going to just trade away her highly respected offerings so freely, she would sell them! Leah sold her stickers at .01 a piece and was popular until the promotion was over a year later, then she was again an outcast!
In the fifth grade things started to change a bit, Leah got involved with a group of friends that were considered to be from the wrong side of the tracks. Leah became more popular, although not because of her social skills, she realizes today it was because she had things they needed and wanted, again....they went to her because she had something for them! Leah was never a follower, despite her social awkwardness, she was always a leader, this started to be a problem.....
At midterm time of the fifth grade, Leah was approached by her first full out, hard core, bully, and she meant serious business!
To be continued.....
Peace, love and happiness always...
Lisa is the owner of Kaitlin's Hideout, a play center for children with autism and a social, support and resource place for parents. www.kaitlinshideout.com