“I am brave. I am bruised. I am who I’m meant to be. This is me.” – Lettie Lutz in The Greatest Showman
Reconnecting with family can be very joyful; going over old memories, catching up on hugs, sharing what’s new,… but for Morgan, it can also bring a lot of anxiety. A couple of the hallmarks of autism are the difficulties with social interaction and communication. This is partly due to the inability to understand other people’s thoughts and feelings.
Not saying family is scary, but whenever any large group of relatives come together, there are numerous opportunities for things to go awry for the best of us. For Morgan, “too many friends” for “too long”, with no understanding of when the shindig is going to wrap up, can make her “all done” much earlier than the rest of us. For this reason, in the early years, I became more and more weary of family gatherings. Little by little, I backed off, encouraging everyone else to carry on without Morgan and Mom.
Now Morgan is 25. Her cousins are grown and married, with kids of their own. We’ve missed a lot of years. Since her dad and his sisters all have summer birthdays, we decided to gather to celebrate. This time, to relieve my anxiety, we called ahead with a game plan. We had the conversation with family, letting them know that Morgan may have to come for a short time, and then take a break. And It wouldn’t be because anyone did anything wrong. It would just be the best way for everyone to have a good time.
Rudy and his sisters
Morgan meeting her new cousin, who lives in Canada now
We booked a hotel nearby, where Morgan and I could retreat when needed. We really enjoyed seeing family again. When she was “all done”, we left dad to relax and continue catching up with everyone. We went for a swim, took walks, rides, and naps, and came back ready to visit some more. She told me twice that weekend, “I doing a good job. I’m trying to be brave.” 🙂 She did do well. I’m thankful for how far she’s come. I’m thankful for learning to drop the veil, and be brave enough to have the conversation, so we can just be ourselves. It turned out to be a very enjoyable visit.
Until Next Time,
Know The Hope!
Tammy Vice and Family