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?
Doctor: You know that word?
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.
32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you