Typical Time

Last week my dear friend Jess suggested that we take our daughters, Katie and Hope, out for some special fun. It would be just for them – and us! – with no autism to think about. We called it “typical time.”

It was to be Hope’s first American Girl experience (and mine).

So we got dressed up, just the two of us, and met our friends for dinner in a VERY girly, very pink house of dolls. If you know anything about Hope you know that this scenario had her over the moon. Truly, it was all too much for her to take in at times.

The girls were long lost sisters. Hope absolutely adores Katie, and Katie showered her with attention and showed her all the American Girl ropes. Even a store clerk called them sisters, and I couldn’t help but think of their other sisters at home. We have them – Brooke and Rhema – to thank for these friendships, for bringing us together.

Katie and Hope were silly and sweet…

they laughed and explored…

and ate way too much pink sugar…

Katie patiently helped Hope pick out a doll. They got her glasses. They got her hair done. They got her ears pierced. (Yeah, I’m talking about the doll.) Hope tried to keep a straight face, but she could barely contain the Wheeeeeee! inside.  

.

Jess and her family have heaped blessings upon my family. They have a way – every single one of them – of stepping in and creating magic and giving my girls the sweetest memories. And then, as they go on their way, changing the world, they thank me. (Huh?) I am stunned by the way they care for us, the way they generously give to us. Often, I find myself standing back just praying that God will bless them as they have blessed us.

Our outing could not have come at a better time. We have been in an all-out crisis at home, with autism impacting every aspect of our lives, nearly every moment. The dinner, the dolls, the pink, the fun and laughter, the chocolate and raspberry sorbet – it was all meaningful and refreshing and even healing for Hope and me. Down to the rainbow sprinkles on our marshmallows.

For us mamas, it seemed like God’s little way of whispering comfort and love: I see you. I know it’s been hard. Tonight, breathe. Just enjoy your girls. 

So my sister-friend and I did just that.

We enjoyed our girls.

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33 thoughts on “Typical Time

  1. Those photos say it all. I didn’t want the story to end either, as I’m sure you wanted that evening to go on forever for the four of you. You and Jess are two of the most amazing people I know, and I’m so glad you’re there for each other 🙂

  2. Ok – so even though I can barely see through the allergic reaction my eyes are having right now (must be too much cinnamon in my coffee or something – yeah – that’s it) – I am responding immediately to THIS one because I cannot deny the overwhelming JOY and LOVE this honors. And I HAVE TO respond by telling you, Mahi, that YOU AND BOTH OF YOUR FAMILIES are a daily blessing to all of us in so many ways. Some quiet and unnoticed – and some magical and over the moon.

    Love you all – it sounded like the perfect day for everyone. A much needed reminder that the autism is not always the boss – and being ‘Princess for a Day’ can create life-long memories of the most precious and purest kinds of joy.
    xo
    Rachel

  3. I’m so glad you had this day of fun and dolls and pink. What a great blessing for all of you…the blessing of the moment and the blessing of the friendship that holds on through the highs and lows!

  4. You really need that balance! I treasure ‘typiucal time’ with Aidan just as much as I treasure my Jack. I’m so glad you have such wonderful people in your life & I’m sure they feel equally blessed to have you in theirs. : ) Keep on keeping on Jeneil! I’m with you every step of the way!

  5. i will never forget standing in that parking lot – in the rain – half-heartedly trying to pry the girls off of one another so we could get them home for bed.

    or when we finally got into the car and katie said, ‘you know, mama, this was one of the best nights of my whole life.’

    and i said, ‘me too, baby. me too.’

    love you, sister-friend.

  6. I;m so thrilled you all had that time together. I know how much you all mean to each other and I;m grateful for that.

    With much affection,
    Jess’s Mom and Katie’s Grammy

  7. It wasn’t until we adopted our daughter from Guatemala that I realized how different it is to parent a typically developing child. So glad you had a chance to devote some time to slowing down and flowing through an outing with nothing but great memories.

  8. I love Jess and her girls and by extension, feeling like I know you from Jess’s posts… love you too… You ALL rock!

  9. I wonder if you and Jess know how much it helps others when you share your family experiences with us – and both of you so gifted in your ability to write it in such meaningful ways. Thank you for sharing this. Today was a very difficult day for my corner in the autism world and reading this makes my heart happy. I hope that the feelings from this typical time stays strong in your memory for a long, long time.

  10. This post brought such joy to my heart! How I love the pictures and the way the girls bonded. Your friendship is a perfect example of how our community needs to find each other and lift each other up like Moses needed help having his arms held up during the battle.

    Wish I could have been there!

  11. Bliss all wrapped up in a frilly pink bow. It is so important to have these easy moments with our typical children. Though we have no friends that are close, as a family, we get together once a week for an autism-free movie night. It sounds terrible written that way, but it isn’t. We call it “Family Movie Night” and it happens after my youngest cherub (who has ASD) is tucked in to bed on Friday night. He gets his much-needed sleep, and we get a moment to breathe and enjoy each other. My older children look forward to it all week because it is a protected time when it is all about them, and not even a little bit about their brother. Though they love him dearly, as we know, attention is not always given equally when your baby brother has autism. I love that you gals go together for this, and I love that the girls loved it too. Thank you for sharing.

  12. What a great post and what a great moment – so glad for all of you that you got a much-needed break and to spend time with those who love and understand you so well!

  13. I love how God has his way of whispering to us and letting us know that He is here and that He sees us. I started following Jess’ blog four years ago when my then “brand new” relationship brought Autism into my life in the form of a young boy who desperately needed someone to stop pretending that everything was “fine” and to realize and say out loud that, sometimes, in the world of the autism spectrum… things are just down right awful. Diary of a Mom was my lifeline to connecting to this child and even though the relationship with his father did not last, my relationship with the boy changed my life forever and has catapulted me into advocacy and involvement. This year my “typical” son turned four years old and started tee-ball. I decided to coach and have once again found autism in my life in the form of a beautiful little ball player and his parents who found themselves in tears to find that God had given them a coach who understood his needs. I have Jess to thank for that. I continue to follow her journey and to learn from her, and from Brooke, all the time. She truly is an angel. You are lucky to have her in your life!!

  14. Love, joy, bliss, happy, grace, Hope, fun, special, God, together, beautiful, sisters, pink, time, magic, comfort, refreshing, all these glorious words in one page on one day, I wish for all of these for all of you everyday xo

  15. I love that you were able to have that happy, girly day. It’s important to take a break from autism from time to time. It can be so demanding but every now and then we need to tell it no.

  16. I’m glad your girls got Typical Time, and I’m glad their mamas did too, at least for a little bit. American Girl opened a store this weekend at our local mall. There was a long queue, so we didn’t go inside, but just through the windows Pudding was entranced. I’m going to try and take her before we leave, though they won’t know what has hit them when we do!

  17. Oh, I loved this post! How sweet and how special! those are some really fun and special memories you all made right there! I like the idea of “typical time”…I think I’ll keep that in mind. (I’ve moved from A Celebration of Our Journey)

  18. Pingback: Doin the Walk « Autism In a Word

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