An Ode to Hadley…….Who makes life shine for me even on my worst days.
This is Autism awareness month. It helps me remember how far my granddaughter Hadley has come and how much of that is because of her parents. They got her cognitive therapy very early, helped her communicate with sign language and build verbal language on that, and they have given her every chance they could, even now at sixteen driving her across town to a peer Social Group. Her journey has involved all types of therapy, tutoring, meds, hard decisions, time, money, courage, perseverance and love. And every bit of it is visible now in her competence and kindness.
She and I talked today about Autism making language skills take longer to learn, but that she is persevering and getting better and better at reading and speaking and understanding language. We talked about how competent she is at visual learning. She watches people do mechanical and electronic things and seems to be able to do them immediately with confidence. She knows that I am not good at that sort of thing, and she often steps in to save me the struggle. We have a road sign Bingo game she played on the hour trip to my house as part of preparing her to learn to drive. She picks up on the visual signs and their meaning very quickly. She simply doesn’t give up.
Two days this week with Hadley:
Several days this week, I felt really good and managed to get a lot done toward getting our house ready to put on the market. Saturday was not one of my best days, but when my Tylenol kicked in, Hadley and I got the carport and entrance area blown off, hosed off, and spots scrubbed!! I just directed and helped
move stuff and unwind the hung-up hose. Hadley was awesome. I had blown and vacuumed the porch and washed furniture and toys on Friday, so I just poured soapy water on the porch floors and Hadley scrubbed with a push broom. Finally everything dried and we put the furniture back in place. What a difference her help makes! She loves clipping shrubs and I had planned to let her do some today. but I did a little a day or so ago and I’ve got what looks like some spots of poison ivy in among my psoriasis and heat rash!! So we will skip that! Later after dinner, Hadley, energized by tacos, was determined to earn more money. She went back outside to work on something for granddad for another hour. I headed to a hot bath. Couldn’t eat tacos, because I broke one whole side off my upper back tooth, the tooth that anchors my upper front teeth. Oh happy day!!
This morning, Sunday, I was paying for Friday and Saturday with aching muscles, allergies, sinus headache, inner ear dizziness and nausea, the cracked molar, poison ivy on my right inner arm, and a pinky nail torn to the quick…..just some of the joys of being seventy-six.
But in spite of all that, I was amazingly happy, because my heart rejoices in Hadley. She is so kind and helpful, extremely patient, and very self sufficient. She even accepted graciously that I couldn’t take her to the mall like I had promised. How many teenagers with hard earned money in their pocket would be gracious about delaying the gratification of shopping? Never-the-less a teenager who struggles with Autism. She has come so far, fixing her own meals, being careful to put down a mat when eating at my desk, and cleaning up after herself, often even spontaneously hugging me and telling me she loves me.
Thank you God and Tommy and Heather for the gift of Hadley.