Tony and I got away overnight for our anniversary, thanks to my parents, which was wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. It seemed like much longer than a day and night. The hard part, though, is coming home. It's getting harder each time I am away for a day, which isn't too often, but does happen occasionally (thanks, Julie!) I guess coming back gives me a perspective on Janey, and sometimes that is hard. She has been in a great mood this week, and was very good for my parents, so it wasn't a behavior issue. It was more my own issue. I think I have a dream of her being very excited to see me after the day away, or at least seeming to notice I'm gone or ask for me. I know that she does notice, I know she's happy to have me back, but sometimes, I dream of that big hug, or at least her asking where I am, which isn't something she would really know how to ask. When I saw her first yesterday, she barely looked at me. And as I said, it's my issue, not hers. It's what I wanted, not what she needed to do.
It made me think about more aspects of her autism and delays that are hard for me, and not perhaps for her. As we waited for the lunch place yesterday to open, I couldn't resist stopping into the American Girl Doll store. There's a real fantasy---even if Janey had the slightest desire for such a doll, I couldn't afford to get into that world. But it's one of those mother things. I would love her to WANT one. And it makes me wonder if in some ways I am like those mothers I like to laugh at and be disgusted by when I can't help myself and watch my guilty pleasure show, "Toddlers and Tiaras" There are parts of being a mother that are just for the mother, not the kids. Janey doesn't know that American Girl Dolls exist. She doesn't know that I would like her to be excited to see me. She doesn't know I had dreams of introducing my little girl to books I loved and reading along through the series of Little House or Narnia or Oz books with her. She doesn't know how I thought about going into toy stores with her and discussing which new Calico Critter we would be able to get, or even how I daydreamed about arguments we would have over clothes. Those are my regrets, not hers.
And of course I know---even if Janey were not autistic, she'd be her own person and might have absolutely no interest in any of those things. I don't need to be reminded of that, even though it's only myself reminding me. Or maybe I do. I need to be reminded that when Janey is happy, I need to be happy along with her, even if what makes her happy is not my dreams for her. She is happy asking for oatmeal, watching the Care Bears, listening to "Keep on the Sunny Side" for the four-hundredth time. I'm glad she has her own things that make her happy. We all need to have those, and I need to remember that.