Pumpkin Pie Thanksgiving

Plop goes the flour into the silver bowl.

“Let’s do a play mom!” says Goldi “It’s almost Thanksgiving!”

SHHHH  goes the melted butter.

“I know, I am making the pumpkin pie!”

“Pumpkin Pie!” Goldi says those words like it’s Christmas. “Okay, you be the mom Pilgrim and I will be the Little Girl Pilgrim.”

“Okay, but I also have to make this pumpkin pie. ”

“That’s perfect.” she says as she jumps and flaps her hands.

“Let me introduce it. ” She says clearing her throat.  She stand in the middle of the room. “Ladies and Gentlemen Boys and Girls, we will  now tell you the story of the First Pumpkin Pie.

Impromptu plays right in the middle of life’s events is a norm in our house. Yet, right in that moment I was slow to act. My mind had to rehearse how to thread it all together:the Pilgrims leaving their homeland for freedom to worship and pray, the long journey on the Mayflower, meeting  and befriending people of a totally different walk of life,  working the land, suffering, and then a Vivaldi’s  Spring announcement of planting and growing, ending in a bountiful harvest and a feast where people of two different races and faiths, sat down, ate, and played together not just for one day but three! All on the day of the First Pumpkin Pie.

This was more than a just a little play time.  It was a teachable moment. The reason for the   Day of Thanksgiving to really sink in and develop into a deep understanding. A play always does the trick with Goldi. It gives her a chance to live and breath life’s learning. Sometimes, it is the only way.

“Once there were some….” she pauses a bit and looks at me as I finish measuring the filling ingredients. “What were those people called again? ” she asks.

“Pilgrims. ” I answer as I stir.

“Yes, Pilgrims. They were about to take a long trip on the Mayflower. ”

Goldi changes her Narrator voice into a Pilgrim Girl:

“Come on Mom! The Mayflower will be here any minute.”

“I am almost ready dear. ” Says me the Pilgrim Mom “Did you pack your trunk?”

“Yes, I have my clothes, food, and my toothbrush. ” Pilgrim Goldi says.

“Good. Now all we need to do is grab the seeds.”

“Seeds? Whatever for mother?” she says.

” When we get to the new land, we will have a new home. So we need to have food. ”

“But what about the Pumpkin Pie mom!”

Being  history dunce, I can’t draw from many known facts about Thanksgiving.  Pumpkin pie had to be eaten. IT was the perfect time of harvesting this vegetable. But did they have enough eggs, condensed milk, flour, and the perfect open hearth oven to make it? Did they have the spices? For Goldi, pumpkin pie is synonymous with  Thanksgiving.Just the way it is with me.

“We will one day child. When we get to the new land we can run free and worship the God we love. We will build a new home. We will grow food. We will have a new life. ” I say. After such words, I find myself really sounding Pilgrim. So serious, determined, and ambitious.

“But how are we ever going to do all that? “Pilgrim Goldi says. She too is sounding her Pilgrim part. Curious, anxious, and ready.

As I pour the filling into the easy pie crust, ( no shortening melted butter- the kind you press in and not the kind you roll out) Goldi busies herself with building a house, a fire, and planting the seeds. She hurries over to me and wipes her forehead.

“I think all the work is done mom. Now can we have our Pumpkin Pie?”

“Soon child. But first we have to wait for the pumpkin to grow. It should be ready after the winter snows melt. “

“You mean we have to wait all that time?! Pilgrim Goldi says stomping her feet.

At that moment, the smell of a real pumpkin pie baking is what we breathe in.  Tasting time was two or three hours away. The wait of the Pilgrims was just not in her grasp nor mine.  I can’t imagine that first winter when the Pilgrims were cold and sick. When the draft of a winter wind battled their small little fire on the hearth. The wait for spring was all to unbearable. And meeting that first Indian all brown and unknown. Yet so much they knew that could help.  And the wait for the Pumpkin Pie. That first slice- it was a winter, spring, and labor intensive garden growing everything  first before tasting time away.

 “No worries. ” I tell her.

Goldi jumps into a narration and my ears tune in:

“And so the Pilgrims worked hard for a long time. They had some special friends called the Indians to help them. They knew the pumpkin pie would not be ready until the work was done. And when it was ready, they all sat down and held hands to say a prayer and then when they ate it …. they said “This is the best pie ever! Happy Thanksgiving everyone. “

THE END

Planting the seeds, working the land, waiting for rain and sun to grow the crops. Waiting for the winter winds to blow past.Waiting for what looked foe to turn friend. Waiting and accepting the kind of life that would unfold.  Waiting with prayer for God’s protection and provision. Celebrating His goodness and thanking Him.  This was the Pumpkin Pie Pilgrim Story.

Working on social skills, anxieties, building friendships, and  ….faith.Planting the seeds through lessons, social stories, and .. plays like this one.  Waiting for understanding of the why and how. Waiting for the seasons of stress and hardship to blow past.  Celebrating the successes of her growth, her maturity, and her gifts.  This is Goldi’s Pumpkin Pie Story. All for that moment of  slice of pumpkin  pie- dabbled with a little whipped cream.

That first pumpkin pie served on the first Thanksgiving must have tasted like a piece of heaven.  The verdict still stands on the pie this Thanksgiving.Regardless,  I know Goldi is ready to celebrate.

Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things. (Psalm 107:8-9 ESV)

Scaredy Cat

Image result for picture of cat

Goldi stepped  into the old brick house  and the floor creaked.

‘Is there someone there?” called out a crackly voice.

“Grandma! It’s me! cried Goldi.

Grandma holds Goldi’s face long enough to see her grand daughter’s  bright twinkling eyes.

“There you are!” she says cheerily.

Goldi eyeballs the living room like a search light.

“Is he here?”

“Who?” wonders Grandma.

“Benny!”

“Oh, he sleeps just about all day in there by the window. ” Grandma says pointing.

Goldi peers through a closed door and sighs.

Grandma begins rocking  by the large window that displays the whole world and stares hard out into it.

“You know, I had a little kitty when I was young. His name was Stripey. ”

“Is he going to wake up?” Goldi asks with concern.

“Who?”asks Grandma.

“I am still talking about Benny!” Goldi emphasizes.

“Oh, he sleeps just about all day in there by the window. ” Grandma says again pointing.

“You know I used to have a little Kitty when I was young,”

I sigh and hold onto all my wonders.

Why can’t she remember five minutes ago? How long until she can’t remember us? Did Stripey sleep all day by the window too? 

After some silent rocks, Grandma stands up: “I’ll just check on Benny.”

Goldi jumps onto my lap and presses herself against my chest.

“I am afraid mom.”she cries softly.

I am torn between holding her tight and letting go.

Grandma appears holding Benny tightly in her arms.

“He’s not used to people. ”

Goldi’s quick heart beats make her chest pop in and out.  Grandma caressed Benny with gentle strokes and “there, there” whispers.

“It’s getting serious,” I hear in a low toned whisper. At the kitchen table, Goldi’s dad has put his arm around Grandpa’s tired sigh.

As a forever silence stilled everything. I journeyed in my mind through all the twists and turns to this moment. Grandma’ s memory loss was now tied to that A- word. Goldi ‘s fear of cats was another reminder of another A- word.  And then there is Benny . The cause of jitters for one autistic child, the source of comfort for one with Alzheimer’s, curled up, calm, and nearly asleep.

Goldi finally breathes easy. Easy enough to cause her hand to slowly reach towards Benny.

“Is he soft?” she asks Grandma

“Oh, very !” Grandma replies.

Goldi’s hand trembles inches away from Benny’s back. As soon as a few soft hairs touch her and Goldi jerks away.

Benny jumps from Grandma’s lap and races into the bedroom.

“Oh dear!” cries Grandma scurrying after him.

Goldi  cries. “It’s just me!”

Then Grandma comes back carrying Benny.

“He’s just not used to people,” Grandma says, “There, there Benny, there there.”

Grandma’s heart beat makes her chest pop in and out.  Benny is calmed by her stroking and soon Grandma rocks and sighs.

“Poor Benny, don’t be scared.” Goldi whispers.

The room’s stillness  is filled with anxiousness that desperately needs a calm filled hope. If only Grandma could remember her story. If only Goldi could calmly be around a perfectly safe cat. If only there were a cure for Alzheimer’s and Autism.

Then in the stillness, it is Goldi that makes the first move. She reaches with an “I know what to do” reach. Then in her hand, she is holding a book about a Lion.

“Benny, this is about a cat like you only much bigger. ”  Goldi tells him gently.

“One day, ” she begins to read ” A lion went to the library. ”

The pace of her reading is as smooth as Grandma’s caressing. Goldi pauses and looks up at Grandma. Benny does not stir.

“He walked right past the circal-” Goldi stops.

“Oh, that word is “Circulation.” Grandma says in a teacher confident voice.

Scared of a cat. Scared of the unknown. Scared of even the familiar.  Goldi, Grandma, and Benny sat in a stillness that was more than just a calm. It seemed at that moment a perfect peace.

“The end” whispers Goldi closing the book.

Benny is sleeping pressed against Grandma. Grandma’s shoulder is pressed against Goldi’s. Goldi’s head lays on Grandma’s shoulder.

Then, Goldi reaches out to pet Benny just like Grandma.

“There There, Benny.” Goldi whispers.

Philipians 4:7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 

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Goldi’s locks

With every reading  of  Goldilocks and the Three Bears, I have transitioned from a sweet little pleasure to a scratching of nails on a chalkboard. I never thought I would admit such a detestable feeling for a fairy tale. They have always stolen a piece of my heart. Then came Goldi’s obsession with the story.

I’ve read it. She’s read it. She’s watched the play. She’s performed it. All of the above on endless rewind. It’s her story.

The Goldilocks in all the stories show the look, but Dom Deluise’s girl is the real mackoy. Her long hair is golden, curly, and thick.  “It really got your attention.”

It caught our attention that our Goldi, wasn’t born  olive skinned, brown eyed, and with curly black tresses. All the features of her mother’s dominant genes. When I introduced her to any audience for the first time, the reaction was “Oh!”

As in “Oh, I didn’t expect blue eyes. Oh, I didn’t expect fair skin and “Oh! Is that blond hair I see? ”

Must I show paperwork proving her biological connection? There was no hospital mix up.  And the nickname Goldi didn’t just come to mind because of looks.

It came because combing her hair was too “ouchy” and involves pinning her to the ground. The minute “too scratchy”  polka dot bow touches her hair with “girly”it is yanked out succinct with a photo click.  I have to cut off every clothes tag,  thus “winging it” when washing. “Goldi” because  foods were too stinky or too sticky.  Noise was too loud.  Her appearance was just a hint of who she was and what would make daily things a challenge…………….

Like …….getting ready for school.

I act as maid in waiting for our Goldi and consider her line up of  cute dresses and tops. I lay out a perfectly matched ensemble that would make Fancy Nancy pleased.

Goldi bounces into her morning with wrinkled pajamas that have warmed her all night.  She eyeballs the required costume for the transformation of Rag Doll to Princess.   I wait for her to show herself presentable.

“Tada!” she appears with a beaming face.

Crowned with bedhead, her turtleneck seam aligns with her chin. Her two toned  pink socks are smashed up against her green striped pant ends. The turtleneck is hot pink with purple dots, and her pants are green striped. Not at all the cute little Goldilocks walking through the forest in her puffed sleeved dress. More like Pippi Longstocking.

I eyeball her accomplishment and flashback many years ago…..

“Tada!”  I  said with excitement. I was wearing my brand new bathing suit for the first time at the beach.  I felt like a bathing beauty ready to run over the pillowy sand into the sparkling waves. …… My suit was on backwards. My brothers’ HA HAS rang out my immaturity. . My five year old brain puzzled  over their laughter and was saddened.   

I hear those  HA HAs  in the far off distance. I won’t have it. Not for my Goldi. I nudge toward her with  “fix it” determination and a comb. She is going to avoid social fashion faux pas if it kills me.

I touch one strand of hair and she pulls away. I  surrender and resort to just fluffing  with damp fingers through her hair.

Tada! Here she is-She’s not the Princess of Monaco. She’s our Goldi.  Blond locks, blue eyes, fair skinned,  and  backwards, mismatched clothes.

Once upon a time, there  lived a beautiful little girl with the most gorgeous blond hair you ever saw…People were always complimenting her on  how wonderful she looked because it really got your attention.  

Once upon a time, there was a young girl named Goldi. Her hair was wind combed and her clothes were mismatched. People were always whispering about her quirky look because it really got your attention.

One day Goldilocks went walking through the woods looking so cute.  

One sunny spring day, Goldi went to school wearing backwards mismatched clothes, a pink winter hat, sunglasses, and holding a Hello Kitty Umbrella.

She came upon a little cottage and knocked on the door.

“Hello? Is anyone home? “Goldilocks cried out.

Even though there was no answer, she let herself right in. Being very hungry she saw three bowls of porridge. She helped herself to the first bowl. Too hot. She tried Momma Bear’s bowl. Too cold. Then you guessed it- “Yum Yum” , she said smilingly “this soup is just right.” 

Goldi walked in parade mode right into school and down the hallway to her locker.

“Good morning!” she announces to some kids.

“Why are you wearing that winter hat? asks one classmate.

“It’s too windy,” answers Goldi.

“Why do you have an umbrella with no rain?” asks another.

“Too bright.” shares Goldi.

She stuffs everything in her locker and bangs the door shut.

Goldi nestles in her seat like a frog on a lily pad.

“Just right.” she whispers.

There are a few stares. Goldi  is unaware.

“Good morning Class!” her teacher greets. “Let’s stand and say the pledge.”

Goldi doesn’t stand, she jumps. She doesn’t gently lay her hand over her heart, she grips her shirt tightly and holds it steadfast as if her heart were really in there.   She does her best to verbalize the fancy words and their wonder,   sways back and forth to the same rhythm of the flag that dangles in front of the school.

Miraculously, sometimes Goldi does look the part. Like one Sunday morning when I suggested shiny black shoes.

“Tada!” she comes up twirling and dancing just like Shirley Temple . Whew! This time, she looks more the part.

And……..yet…… always acts the part……….

“Let’s sit in the middle.” I say as we walk into the sanctuary.

“Too crowded.”Goldi insists.

We sit in the back row. No stares or raised eyebrows there.

We stand and sing  and Goldi jumps with an excitement that cannot be contained. She folds her hands and scrunches up her entire body with head in her knees to pray. She flaps her hands when a baby gets baptized. Sermon time comes, and she listens in anticipation for one word to grab on tightly while I write a dissertation.

“Samaritan.” Goldi whispers. “The Good Samaritan is my favorite story about God.”

Someone has been eating my porridge! Someone has been sitting in my chair.

Someone has been sleeping in my bed. Well, at that moment Goldilocks woke up and was so surprised to see the three bears looking down at her that she let out a noise that startled everyone. There was a lot of screaming and yelling. 

Someone has been talking too loudly. Someone has been jumping up and down. Someone has been galloping in the school hallways. Someone has been showing up dressed in quirky. Someone has been flapping their hands. There are a lot of stares and whispers and laughs.

“Tada!” it’s our Goldi. She  could surprise anyone.

Of all the stories of Goldilocks I know, Dom Delouise’s version is one I could read again and again:

Things got a little calmer, and a little clearer. Goldilocks would visit her new friends. From time to she would eat corn muffins with honey. Bears do love honey. And the three bears did love Goldilocks. 

There’s  still a Goldilocks in a story and my own that still steals my heart.

For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

 

 

 

 

 

 

Waiting in the room

 

 

The waiting room at the Children’s hospital was big, open, bright, and cold.  Even at 8:30 am, there was bustling- the ins and outs of people, young children hopping about to make the most of the unpredictable wait. The air conditioning polarized the air and I shivered in thought as we sat.

This journey has taken us down the road only nine years. There was a time when we  first heard ” autism” and it crippled our thoughts of a promising life. There was time when Goldi spoke in tongues or scripts. There was a time when in order to eat in peace, Goldi needed headphones. Time now for more of the unexpected and mysterious. How long before this gets easier?

My nerves were busy at work. How long the wait? I slid my hand up and down my arms trying to erase the permanent tattoo of goosebumps. I sighed deeply. This was the moment of true exposure.

Goldi giggled at the pestering of her younger brother, then took in all the action around her.

“Goldi” announced a voice from afar, “I am Miss Kelsey and I will be working with you today. ”

Her ID badge spelled out five titles. The tips of her stringy hair brushed her wrinkled collar.

“Right this way!”

Goldi was unsure of what this was all about. Unsure of what the four hours would demand of her.  It was test time. Testing all that Goldi knew. Her reading, her math, her IQ, her language, her problem solving, her attention, her memory, …….all about poking and prodding into her mind to see the Goldi she had become at the near age of nine. How long before Goldi shuts down and gives up this exercise?

The thought of it all pinned me to the chair. But  Goldi hopped up off and stood tall.

“Do you want to take a snack?” I asked.

“No,” she said assuredly. The double doors closed behind her and I was cued to wait.

Waiting equates itself with wonders and worries. Autism is such a puzzle.. Goldi’s growing up but truth remains – she has autism.  It’s evidence is so disheartening at times. With age, I had hoped and still do that she would look “cured”.   How long will it take? 

The first hour was fresh with people watching action. They helped distract me from my own story. A mother and her daughter had seated themselves close by. Mom sat touching distance from her daughter who was in a wheel chair.  The  teen looking girl looked vegetable like.  She stared cross eyed and distant, with only her breathing to distinct her from a statue.  She had a sleeveless shirt and her arms soon broke out in goosebumps as the cold showered her.

I imagined up their journey. There was a time when her mother learned that her daughter would be crippled of the “good life”. There was a time when she had to be trained to feed, bathe, and dress her. There was a time when she had to learn how to read her and know her the way she was– a vegetable. How long til these challenges push her over the edge? 

Suddenly, the young girl moaned. It was of medium volume  but loud enough to know she had a way to voice her mind Her mom first sat  unmoved. She moaned again this time loud enough to let it bounce off the walls. Again and again, she cried out. After such frequencies  I began to translate: “How long until we see who we need to see so we can get what we need?

Some of us froze in foolish stares.

Goldi’s brother asked “Why is she screaming?”

“She’s asking the same thing you are asking.” I answered. Brother pondered my words and maybe realized a connection even to someone so far from him.

We tried to ignore the “disturbance” with tic- tac- toe. But my eyes soon wandered over to watch again. Her mother  was gently pressing her face against her daughters. She kissed her forehead and whispered sweet nothings that seemed to massage  her whole being. Suddenly the girl smiled. Her eyes no longer cross eyed but  sparkled. She seemed to sit taller. There was peace and she was transformed.

I sat in warmth that took over shivers and worries.  In my wait, I saw the hands and feet of the One who loves us. The One who waits for us daily. The One who waits to transform us if we only cry out to Him.  At once I knew, that my wait was not, nor  never will be in vain.

Psalm 13

English Standard Version (ESV)

How Long, O Lord?

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

 How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
    How long will you hide your face from me?
 How long must I take counsel in my soul
    and have sorrow in my heart all the day?

 Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
    light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,

 But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
    my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
    because he has dealt bountifully with me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goldi on Stage

 

The world became her stage when I heard  two doll’s voices in English Accents coming out of her bedroom:

 “You cawnt my dear. It simply isn’t possible Princess Aurora!”

Well, try to control yourself Princess Cinderella, everything is going to be awl right!

Goldi considers the world her stage. It is a  ritual to rehearse in the “backstage” of her room first thing in the morning.  When guests come for dinner, the dessert proceeds an  impromptu performance of  Annie, Cinderella, Mary Poppins or some other newly invented story. There have been raging reviews  like ”That girl can sing. That girl can act.”

People are  just being nice. I thought. They have to say that because she’s autistic . They are being forgiving and compassionate.  It’s not like she’s Daryl Hannah or Susan Bowles. ( both have autism) Although even THEY they had to start somewhere.

She started with one week of Theater Camp  downtown.  I clasped her hand and guided her to the welcome area where all the theater teachers greeted us  with articulate projected voices  and exaggerated gestures. Feeling Goldi’s  heart beat reminded me that her nerves were in a tizzy  like mine.

Golidi waved goodbye  I was escorted to the waiting area where I experienced the nooks and crannies of theater life.  Directors sat going over call back lists.  Young ones passed through with heads held high and soon belted out some familiar Broadway numbers about Tomorrow and Music of the Night.  Real live Broadway actors  from the  production of Book of Mormon came promenading in ready to WOW some Broadway wanna bes with some “I made it big advice.”  I people watched and listened and  played the part of wall flower.

All the while, I wondered about Goldi . Would she be fine?   Maybe I should have just had the neighborhood kids act out some familiar fairy tale with an old sheet curtain? Is she standing on the stage scrunched up with tears flowing  not able to follow some blocking direction?

Lord, help her to find Your pleasure in doing this so that she might discover that this can be done for Your glory.

Suddenly a voice interrupts my wanderings of worry:

“Hi Mom! Know what? My part is  going to be Flies! Here is my script. I have to practice my lines and tomorrow I am going to stand on the real stage!

There is a quick scene change from city to country. Closer to home, I breathe a sigh of relief for more reasons than one. She had a good time and she was smiling at the prospect of tomorrow.

The Final Day of Camp was performance day. We are sitting up in the theater balcony for  Goldi’s big debut in Pirates Take Broadway. An off the beaten path story of which I am clueless about.  But at that moment it is about Goldi.

Lord, work in her Your power so that she can “Break a leg”. 

The opening number unfolds and out she comes singing and dancing in sync. She knew to move to the left or right. She knew to cross over and line up and raise her hands into the air .

A few scenes later,  Flies (Goldi)  comes out in costume.   She wore a flower ruffly dress and  clutched a clipboard.   Goldi had  nine lines.  Nine lines that meant  nothing to her as far as as sense or story. But she was determined to say them because she called herself “actress.” The other characters moved the scene along with their memorized, perfectly timed lines and then……..all eyes turned to Goldi …… for her first line.  She buried her face in her clipboard ( her cheat sheet) and …..a whisper floated out into silence…nine times.The scene progressed. The characters played on each other …..even Flies. The story unfolded as planned.

Lord,  help her to be who you made her to be despite autism so that others will know that you are greater and that you have overcome a world  that might throw tomatoes and reject her.

The finale: “I am a Pirate Broadway Baby”. There was stomping, stepping,  and gesturing and there was Goldi, singing in harmony with her feet and hands.  The bows at curtain call prompted enthusiastic applause.

Lord, if there is any success in this it is  because of You.  ­There is something great in her from YOU  waiting to come out .  Is this a gift you gave her? For some amazing purpose? 

In the comforts of  home, Goldi rehearses backstage in her room and watches other plays. Away from the lights, camera, and action, she watches her  filmed Pirate performance and her eyes are aglow with pride.

The  Pirates take Broadway strike is done. Right now, there is a sold out production of  Broadway musical Book of Mormon on that same stage. That same stage– that for a moment welcomed and housed a young autistic girl  who dreamed of being in a real play, in a real theater.  She gave it her all in pursuit of dreams come true.  Some may look at Flies and say    “exit stage left”.    But Goldi cares little about critics.

In faith, I think she knew something that a Producer or Director of the world’s stage would not. In faith,  Goldi was on stage- displaying a good work created in her. A gift from above  for some good greater purpose. Goldi was on stage. She played her role from start to finish and….. all because He put the good work in her…. all to show the Glory of God.   Goldi on stage may one day result in a standing ovation.

James 1:17-21  English Standard Version (ESV)

17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.[a] 18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth,that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

Phillipians 1:6

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goldi is the Rainman

She is fair skinned, blond haired, and blue eyed.  He is olive toned with side burns. She spoke in tongues setting us in search of a good Speech Pathologist.  He was speaking like Encyclopedia Brown and sent us to the library in search of  books on how to recreate the Hoover Dam.

He has all the votes of a Congressmen wherever he goes. The birthday party invitations are already nearing the teens. Goldi’s number lags behind.

He’s been on roller skates, watched the action at the car wash with awe, and walked 5 miles for trick or treating treasures. For her, there’s a “dig my heels into the ground” excuse for any opportunity that knocks.

He knows she has autism. Probably even before we told him.  It seems with all his brilliance he’s had plenty of thinking time to come up with comments like:

“Just turn that autism part of your brain off. That way, no one will know you have it. ”

“Stop saying I have autism!” Goldi shouts back.

I’ve heard this  kind of talk before……..

Doctor: Raymond, do you know what autistic is?
Raymond: Yeah.
Doctor: You know that word?
Raymond: Yeah.
Doctor: Are you autistic?
Raymond: I don’t think so. No. Definitely no.

But then maybe he is able to “turn it off” for her.  When she’s  right in the middle of one of her “tanmelts”,  a word I  invented, because sometimes I can’t  distinguish  tantrum  from meltdown. Either she’s getting her way or she’s had it for the day or both.  I stand in blurry frustration mustering up energy to enter in stop the madness. But then…. he inches close and presses his nose against hers. She smiles and lets out a belly laugh.

He knows just like Charlie did:

Charlie: You know what I think, Ray? I think this autism is a bunch of BLEEP! Because you can’t tell me that you’re not in there somewhere!

At times, when I feel more like Grandma than Mom I freeze in the why’s and what ifs. When we are gone…..Will Goldi be all alone in some Group Home only to be visited by her Congressman / Celebrity brother during holidays? Will he one day as a man walk away free to live his own life in pure normalcy?

There’s plenty of reasons to walk away one day.  Sometimes, things are just not  fair.  We don’t make her eat lima beans. She gets to attend cool therapy sessions with toys and play equipment.  There would be no more embarrassment of her nonsense talk in public or some display some major social flop like picking her nose or sticking her hands down her pants or wearing the Pippi look or jumping up and down or flapping or still insisting on rocking her baby doll to sleep.

One day, he could be too busy for her because he’s working on some project for the city being an engineer and all. Or he’s running for Congress and there’s a campaign to build.  Or he’s got a soccer game to coach, or a lawn to mow.

“Where’s Goldi? he asks  one afternoon walking in from outside.

“She’s playing in her room.” I answer.

He tip toes in and I begin to hear jibber jabber. Some sort of invented language that I presumed only twins could speak.  Laughter bounces out.  Must have been an inside joke. Then I remember…………

Charlie: I like having you as my brother.

Goldi is his sister. He’s Goldi’s  brother.   For now, I smile on the fact that they like having each other.

Charlie: What you have to understand is, four days ago he was only my brother in name. And this morning we had pancakes.

Ephesians 4:32

32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you

 

Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

 

“What’s Tomorrow?” Goldi asks stroking the satin rim of her blanket.  It’s her  routine question that sometimes prolongs bedtime a bit.

Tomorrow is another day.” I said.

“But what ‘s happens in ‘Another day’? she asks.

I stare out the window  into the world held in The Hands that faithfully gives us another day .

“Let’s see… today you woke up and said ‘It’s Earth Day! I need to dress up.’ ”

Earth Day and she dresses up not down.  Earth Day- the day we celebrate the beauty we see around us and get into the dirt…..which Goldi seems to become one with at times. On Earth Day she chose to wear a green ruffled dress and a purple bow in her hair.  It was her idea.  No clashy wrinkly clothes and wind combed hair. Yesterday, she was Pippi, today she was Princess.

“Maybe tomorrow I can wear my pink polka dot dress.” Goldi says with a smile.

“That would be lovely. ” I say.

I start to inch away from her bedside until she asks:

“But  Mom, what will I DO tomorrow?”

“Let’s see… I say staring out into the sorry, world full of teasing and pain.

“Today you helped  young Janey at school. You read her a book and she liked it so much she said “More!”

”  I was sitting  with her in the big rocking chair in our classroom,” she says.

Goldi used to speak in tongues.  She had all the inflection , expression, and eye brow raising gestures. But we couldn’t understand a word. So after several speech pathology lessons,  she was finally  passed “Mommy and Daddy” and she began to open up books, see words, and voice them like music.

Goldi feared younger kids. They were like little puppies wandering all over sniffing and slobbering. Goldi jumped into my arms at the sight of kids like Janey. That was Yesterday, today she is sitting by them side by side reading a book.

“Maybe tomorrow you could read The Little Red Hen. ” I suggest.

“Oh, Janey will love that story!” she says.

I stroke her forehead with my fingertips hoping for her eye lids to wander into dreams.

“Mom,” she says gripping her covers  ” I don’t want to be scared”

“Well…. I said looking out into the world held by the Hands of the One who lights the day and night.

“You made friends with a Wolf, and an Eagle and you’ve ridden a horse. ”

Goldi stood frozen in her tracks at the sight of Ernie the Eagle. He was a giant mystery towering over her.  Ernie was her school Mascot.  He made several appearances at assemblies that Goldi refused to attend. The Horse  was a part  of a field trip activity. She  patiently awaited even the most impatient riders who commanded “Giddy up!”  But then, when visiting a water park, she ran to Violet the Wolf and hugged her. She high fived Ernie at the school pep assembly.  Before that,  she  was crowned Queen out for a ride on her prized horse and her second grade class cheered. Yesterday, she screamed at the scary unknown. Today, she stands proud of her success.

“What if it’s Saturday? ” Goldi asks.

“Well… I say  looking out into the world held in the Hands of One who stills time and quiets all that lives and breathes,

“Your fairy is ready to swing from the treetops. Your princess is ready to dress for the ball.”

Goldi’s toys  were lifeless for many months. Fun was laying each one down to sleep. No feeding a doll or taking it for a walk.  No setting up for a tea party. For the first time in my “childhood” the complexity of play became mind boggling.  What kids were born to do … Goldi was born without.   Teaching her the play schemes was like working through the Pythagorean Theorem.  But then.. she began to set the dining room table for tea and seat many “guests” for conversation and cookies.  She set up a village of castle, fairy house, and doll house, and “Once upon a time ” becomes a reality.

“I could set up a restaurant and my dolls and princesses could be the customers. ” she shares.

“Sounds like real fun.” I say with a kiss.

“It’s nearly 9 o’clock,” I say as I draw up the covers.

“But what about tomorrow?” she asks.

“Well….. I say staring out into the world held by the Hands of the One who guides our dreams according to His good plan, “Tomorrow is one big surprise.”

“What kind of surprise?” Goldi asks with light up eyes.

“A really wonderful one. Better than a tea party,  horseback riding like a Queen,  making friends with Ernie or Violet, reading to a friend like Janey, or twirling like a Princess.  Every Tomorrow has a surprise waiting. ”

Tomorrow seemed liked a million years away since  the Doctor’s told us those dreaded words “She’s autistic”.  It seemed to make each Today a chore or a hurdle. But now in the accounts of all the Todays – we see the Guide who brings the Hope of what lies in Tomorrow.

“Good night Goldi” I whisper.

But Goldi does not answer. She is busy dreaming about that big surprise in Tomorrow.

Psalm 147: 11  The LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.

Hebrews 13:8 : Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and Forever.