For years I have wanted to go to my girls school to either visit or watch a school event. In the past this caused a complete uproar in her day. I accepted that experience as once I just wondered about and added to a list of what I perceived as a loss. I often thought about how easy it is for other parents to volunteer or simply come to lunch. The few times I attempted to do that, the situation quickly turned into a meltdown. Perhaps this was another experience I shouldn’t have given up on, but I did what I thought was best at the time.
Fast forward. Fitness through dance class at the high school and my girl was begging me to come watch. I stood at the back of the studio with mixed emotions. Part of me was feeling just great joy in seeing her comfort with who she is, comfortable with ME being in her school space. I was so proud. Of course, when I walked in, she yelled, “Mother!”, and all the students looked at me. She was happy I was there. Her ability to (finally) want to share her school life with me had happened. I watched her in the mix of 30 other students learning hip hop moves to very loud music.
As I stood back I was able to observe the other students–all girls. Some of these girls I recognized all the way back to her elementary days. The alternate side of the mixed emotions that I experienced came when I began to realize that on a developmental level, we were once again way behind. Her desire to show me her dance class was similar to a 3rd grader wanting parent volunteers to join the zoo field trip.
And yet, I accepted this delay with joy. Rather than previous feelings of grief or loss seeing ‘typical’ girls, I experienced peace in the knowing that my girl wanted me there, to become part of her world and to share her success. She looked at me throughout the class making sure I was watching. A huge step in theory of mind. A victory in our world.