Recently, as is often the case in summer, a quickly moving thunderstorm passed over us at the beach. My husband and I decided to wait it out and as the sky cleared, a rainbow appeared on the horizon. That’s kinda the way life is for us, isn’t it?
Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.
– Genesis 9:16
While the news has been filled with reports of occurrences demonstrating unrest around the world, I think there’s a widespread concern that we are on the brink of certain disaster. And here in the U.S., no matter what side you fall on, the political climate and upcoming election has us on edge. Yet most of us also have more personally pressing concerns to deal with in our families and everyday lives. We are waiting out the storms, praying for change, and anxiously waiting for better days to come.
This was MJ’s 2nd week at her internship and I’m thrilled to report that it’s going well! As far as I can tell, she is doing a very good job. They have her doing beta testing and she found a lot of issues and bugs to be fixed. She created a prioritized spreadsheet for the programmer to follow. And, she told me that the programmer is actually the owner and that she sat with him as they worked through the list to fix each item. The liaison from Pathways tells me MJ has been very thorough and that’s exactly what they need from her.
MJ even talked about helping connect the sales people to potential prospects. She seems genuinely happy to go to work and be a team player. One day I called her cell phone when I arrived to pick her up. She was surprised I was there already. She said, “Is it time to leave? But we’re on a roll here!” LOL, that’s a good sign! At first she didn’t understand that this was an 8-12 week internship. She thought it was either a test to see if they would hire her longer term, or that if she did a great job, they’d want to keep her. Now that she gets that it might just be 8-12 weeks, I think she’s working hard to prove herself invaluable. Pretty cool, huh?
The past few weeks I’ve been helping MJ prepare her portfolio. We are also up to the point in the Pathways Program where we put together MJ’s visual resumé. The Employee Relationship Manager will use the resumé to present MJ to companies who are willing to give internship opportunities and to see if they have a need that matches MJ’s skill sets. Last Tuesday the Career Navigator met with us to review her ideas for putting it together. Like most resumés, we’re focusing on her strengths, experience, and skills. Though it’s been fun to see all of her work coming together, it hasn’t been an easy process. I’ve had to be careful not to offend her design sensibilities and I wasn’t always successful. It’s taken a lot of effort to build her up and instill confidence.
Both of my kids have been in particular need of encouragement. So, in the past couple of weeks I’ve tried to pay close attention to those times when I need to either hold my tongue, or say something that will build up their self-esteem. It’s required me to have a lot of patience while I actually sit and work with them. It’s also had me experimenting with the language I use and ways of communicating that might change their perspective.
To say that most people with Asperger’s have poor organizational skills might not be completely accurate. They just follow a different logic. Last week while helping MJ clear the floor in her bedroom, she freaked out because I moved a few things from the floor to the box of stuff she’d gathered together. To me, it followed logically that these miscellaneous items belonged in the same place. At least they were better off in a box than scattered on the floor. But to her, it was as if I were putting needles in a haystack.
You might notice the gap in dates from my first posts to this one. I guess I got cold feet. Even though I’m writing anonymously, this is scary to put myself out there. But the other gap I wanted to address in this post is the one that currently cradles my thoughts and feelings on gender dysphoria. Oh yeah, I’m afraid to go there, to that chasm that lies between my intellect and my heart. And the gap between me and my child.
When MJ was in preschool she would spend time in Nana’s kitchen mixing ingredients to make unusual, undrinkable concoctions. She’d put on a sport jacket and use the cardboard puppet theater to pretend she was in a commercial selling “MJ’s Juice”. All of her life, until the demands and pressures of high school and the stress of conforming and trying to keep up with her peers, and to learn how to “do life” the way we expected of her got in her way, MJ had fun creating. She would mix things up without a care in the world.
She’s managed to create some cool stuff since high school…projects that made it into the juried student art show at college, 3-d models of experimental spacecraft, and plenty of personal digital projects. But we haven’t seen the type of childlike abandon we saw before high school.