Of Victory & Right to Bare Toes

copyright: Leisa A. Hammett

Today my 16-year-old declared victory. Her mother (that would be me) caved and finally said "Yes," to her daughter's insistence that she wear to school the pretty little sandals her doting aunt gave her this summer. The school bus arrived and Grace pranced out the door, her purple polish pedicure in full glory. My internal dialogue earlier that morning, in a standoff in her bedroom, went something like, "Give it up, Leisa. She's 16. It's an adolescent thing. Despite what you don't want and you think best, let her have this. Her toes may turn blue, they may get stomped by the giants that traffic the high school hallways. But, it's time." Grace thanked me in her classic nonverbal way–with an an enormous smile and an energy that palpably filled the room.

The apple doesn't fall too far from the tree, as they say, so, having a child with autism, in my case, roots me in routine and tenacity for rules. Blush. The rules began in preschool and were reinforced every summer at camp, with warning notes to parents: "Wear closed-toed shoes. Bare tootsies could get trampled." (Well, "tootsies" is my paraphrase.) Good enough for me. So the rule stuck through preschool, elementary, middle and on into her frosh year of high school last year. Sometimes having a child with autism, provides a little extra rein. Sometimes that's good. Sometimes it's not….

So, she's proud that she got her way and got to sport her cute sandals to school. I'm proud, too. A little. I'm proud that I bent when I needed. I'm proud that she's so psyched. I'm proud that she won. It's part of growing up. Autonomy. Making choices. Even if the Mother Hen in me worries about my babe's tootsies. On some things you just gotta give. And for this, it was time. (And, Dear Reader, should you rush to judge me, remember, I am the mother that decided to streak her daughter with autism's hair purple before the start of her freshman year of high school. Then for others, that's another set of reasons to judge me.)

No worries here. I am at peace. And, my daughter's happy.

0 Responses to Of Victory & Right to Bare Toes

  1. Ahh, I’m proud of you two too. Last week dropped my 10
    yr old w autism off at school for the first time. Milestone.
    What’s so great about your milestone is she got there
    first with the wish and you were able to catch up to her
    and grant it. Kudos.

  2. Beautifully written! What a gift you gave your daughter…..autonomy and trust and what a gift she gave you – trust in you as a mother, her anchor all these years and that palpable sensory experience you felt upon saying, “yes.”