My Irene has lost so much weight. She’s healthy but I wonder if she’s eating? I have always said to others she eats about 5 different things and 3 of them are a variety of potatoes- chips, fries and baked; oh and mashed too. That is Autism. That is her Autism because Autism is different for everyone and it changes daily. She is doing amazing at UC Sant Cruz and I keep having to tell myself that and others when they ask because I don’t know anything different and I won’t know until it hits the fan- if it hits the fan. Shit that is. Until then I just practice acceptance and faith and know that I’m utterly powerless.
I know Irene is walking everywhere on campus because Irene can’t drive or even ride a bike, mostly out of fear and I’m ok with that. This is probably why she has slimmed down so much I tell myself. She has learned the bus system with the help of her IHS worker who is bringing on another worker so Irene gets more hours a week. She must need them if they are doing this – I have to trust them.
Her hygiene I will not talk about, but she has hair growing everywhere including under her arms and I know that is a thing now with girls so I encouraged her not to worry and to do what ever she wants- I will not define her. Many of her clothes just went straight to the trash and shopping had to be done. She was home for Thanksgiving and we are on the drive back now with her dad at the wheel so I have some time to reflect and jot down a few lines.
Irene is Autistic plus as many of you know, depressive, anxiety and ADHD as well. She is my gift. The gift born in the front seat of my car in my addiction. The gift I tried so hard to keep. The gift I walked away from and thank my God for bringing me back to when I got clean. It’s never too late.
Irene won’t say if she’s hungry, she’ll wait until she can find some chips or bread; she doesn’t want to bother anyone. I saw she ordered some gourmet cookies delivered to her room- I know that was probably very exciting for her. Her bank account is attached to mine so I always know what she’s buying. She has only made it into the Mc Donald’s in Santa Cruz once her whole time at school; this was her staple at home and still her treat.
I’m taking her back with snacks and enough hygiene to last her until summer. If I make sure she has everything she needs then she hopefully won’t run out. What Irene see’s as necessary to buy and what is not are different than the usual- she needs every airport neck pillow she sees- tampons not so important. I’m hoping these extra hours with her worker are utilized to the fullest and I have a list of items to discuss with them. I haven’t even seen her room yet but if it looks like it did a few weeks ago I’ll send her and her dad Mark out to Mc Donald’s so I can get it together while they’re gone. She panics when things are moved or when people are in her space. She stays secluded but gets out to do the things she wants when she wants- the things that interest her.
Irene makes it to her classes though. I hope she is turning in assignments and studying for finals- she is so smart. I had to map things out -everything in high school daily including homework and due dates- she’s on her own now. Things her IHS worker is supposed to be assisting her with- organization and dates. She lives in her own world doing what her mind wants to. I can’t explain Irene any better than that other than a beautiful brilliant gift and my daughter.
I have heard C’s get degrees and although she has always been an A+ honors student that came at a cost. Frustration, tears, meltdowns and stress along with her picking at her skin and pulling her hair out. Her bangs are growing back out and I don’t see any signs of hair pulling- although she is always wearing a hat. A mother knows her child. She is thriving and I have to keep supporting her. I’ve picked her classes – yes again, hopefully for the last time. She was upset with me. Irene didn’t understand classes have to be picked and no longer will she just get a schedule. I finally got the IHS worker to get her to a counselor and follow up with that to map out her years for success. Irene was 1 of 200 accepted into UC Santa Cruz’s Computer Science degree program in 2019! If you put it in front of her she will do it. She can do anything.
The Chicken Lady