Saturday, October 25, 2008

Homecoming: day night # one

Meghan came home for the first time in 4 months. She got off the bus and came through the front door as if she had not been away—just another day at school—and at the same time probably thinking that she was on an adventure. How do you take a girl from one life to another so easily? To us it’s a simple bus ride; to her it must be a life-altering expedition. I wonder? She was a bit out of her element, but nothing like her first night being away from home in 13 years when she first started school. I remember that day and night all too well; I had to think of it as camp for the summer, as many kids, even kids on the autism spectrum participate in overnight camps for extended periods of time. It was tougher for us than if was for her, from reports—and a fortunate sort of lifeline for us to this kind of suffering. Remembering back to calling her house on the very first night and then the next morning for Meghan’s reaction to being in a foreign house with foreign people and roommates for the first time in her life, and let us not forget being among girls “sisters,” as opposed to boys and a brother; she was kind of like whoa, what’s this and what’s going on … but she was not upset. Again, it’s a great comfort (and a gift) that she sees life as an adventure, and nothing less. What horrible thoughts could pop through her mind, I just don’t know. Not yet, at least. I think her first night home might have been a little similar to the first night at her new school, a sort of what’s-this-and what’s-going-on kind of reaction. Of course she knows her house and us and would exhibit comfortable behavior and occasionally would come and go from the kitchen to get a little snack (monitored), but more of a "free pass" than she has at school.

Later, she and I had fun snuggling up in bed (my bed) and watched some programs. The only different or odd thing was that she still had on her sneakers (an at-school policy, usually with her crocs, but she only had her sneakers with her). Nick came in once in a while to wrestle and harass her; his form of brotherly love and it was nice to see. This kind of love and attention is something that I know she doesn’t do with anyone else. At school, television watching is usually with a group of girls for a movie night, and her TV in her room (which we supplied) is for just a small period of time at night while she’s in her room getting ready for bed. Sure she interacts with teachers and does a “belly hugging” kind of thing with them (squishing people’s bellies is what she likes) and they love her spirited personality, but it’s not the same. I think she was comfortable with us—like home again from college. I was happy to share this time with her, and I think she was too.

When it was time to sleep she was still fully dressed and I had to ask her to get her pajamas on and handed them to her. This was the strangest part of her visit. She was still sitting on her bed and watching her television so I walked away for a few minutes wondering who this stranger was in my house. But when I came back she was in her pajamas and nestled in bed (under her new comforter) and watching her TV on low with a huge smile on her face. I walked in and kissed and hugged her goodnight and she did her usual patting my belly while smiling and then she let out a giddy, little laugh--I was relieved. After I said goodnight and turned off her light, I glanced back at her room and took in the sight; for the first time in 4 months her room was warm and full of life.

1 comment:

Tanya @ Teenautism said...

How wonderful for all of you! I'm sure it was very special for you to see her in her bed again and to have her there at home with you.