Belle's hand with a bowl of almonds

Girls’ Night Out

As a mother to a child with autism, Girls’ Nights are few and far between. Recently, my sister-in-law invited me to a night on the town with a few of her girlfriends. After some convincing on her end, I finally agreed to the evening out. It also happened to be the first time going out with anyone who is unaware of my daughter’s diagnosis. I was a little nervous, to say the least, but I was hopeful to have a good time.

When we arrived my sister-in-law introduced me to her friends and they immediately made me feel welcome. As the conversation shifts from one mom to the next, I listen to these ladies talk all about their children’s accomplishments. One woman just got back from taking her kids to dance practice and was discussing their upcoming state competition. Another women was talking about how her daughter gets to compete in a national spelling bee next month. The third woman was talking about her family’s recent move to the area, and how her daughter was finally making some great friends.

During their conversation, I heard a sentence that I have heard a hundred times before, and have never thought twice about. “Girls can be so mean, especially when they are growing up.” I quickly became angry, anxious, and felt completely isolated. I wanted so badly to run out of the restaurant screaming and crying, but that would be unfair to them, right? I mean, aside from my sister-in-law, these women had no idea that my daughter has autism and they are completely unaware of the fear that I have for her future. The inexplicable fear that I have that those girls (and boys) who can be so mean, will be that mean. The fear that she will feel the same kind of isolation growing up that I was experiencing that single night.

I managed to keep myself together until I got home. I lost it for a short bit, but was overcome with the feeling that all was right in the world again. My daughter gave me an extra special hug that night (not a backward hug). She wrapped her arms around my neck and held on as tight as she could until she fell asleep. It seemed as if she was saying, “It’s OK, mommy. I love you and everything is going to be just fine.”



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