Sugar and Spice and Spectrum

Princesses, tea parties, and twirling. Dollhouses, and chasing butterflies. It’s sugary, spicy, and all around nice. It’s much of what girls are made of.

That old poem set a recipe for each gender. I knew a Sugar and Spice Girl named Jane. I learned to read with her and brother Dick. She wore ribbons and bows, puffed sleeved dresses, and shiny black shoes. That Jane girl was everything sugary and nice.

When Goldi arrived, I wanted to relive everything girlie. Everything pretty would decorate her world. Everything dainty would flavor her play. She would giggle and pretend with her friends. She would dance and float like a dream on the stage of the public eye. But Goldi’s autism soured the sugar, weakened the spice, and added kookiness to the nice. That poem girl seemed so Polylanna. Ours was a Pippi Longstocking.

Even though some girls out there have “roared” their way into a new kind of “Girlie,” that “Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice” Girl is what I projected on my Goldi. I noticed a real difference between that typical girl and our spectrum gal.

Girls have the gift of gab. They do tea parties. They connect and share emotions. Goldi has plenty to say but the context isn’t always appropriate. She’s still mirroring her happy and sad face and challenged to recognize someone else’s.

Girls are social butterflies. They know gals from dance class and gymnastics. Goldi invites friends over to play. She pretends with them. She longs to be with friends. But making a friend can be difficult when a typical girl’s intuition tells her that something is “up” with Goldi.

She’s not always fashionably “in.” There are pretty things, I can’t resist using to turn Goldi into princess. Like one white silky dress trimmed with toule and pink rose pedals. Some other sugar girl wears it now. Pink polka dots and orange pants satisfy Goldi’s fashion taste.

Spectrum girls lack some social graces. While living in the South, I saw Sothern Belles gracefully cross a room and turn a boy’s head. Goldi might jump or even gallup. We are still working to keep her feet on the floor while eating. She simply can’t hush down at times for a good story without flapping and jumping.

With faith, I know we’re made in God’s image. An amazing, beautiful, creative, and “higher than any other” image. In faith, our Goldi has the promise of being sweeter, spicier, and nicer than any “in the box one” from some old poem. With faith, we discover the richness of God’s gift of girl in Goldi.

While the typical girl gabs, Goldi’s eloquence sings. It’s imaginative and a refreshing breeze while I am stuck in the conversational rut of the weather. While the typical girl has social graces, Goldi’s zeal is expressed in a bounce that brings spring in the dead of winter. While the typical girl is fashionable, Goldi shines her own flare. The typical girl makes friends easily. Goldi happily accepts any possiblity of a friend.

It’s Goldi’s own unique “sugary, spicy, and everything nicey” touch on this moldy world. In the end, I realize it’s the girl I’ve dreamed of raising all along.


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