Some things will never make sense to a 7 year old, especially one with autism.
Tonight at bedtime we had a talk. She’d been seeming sad and so I asked if she was missing her Daddy. It didn’t take long to determine, even with her limited communication skills, that the answer was most definitely yes.
CHA is coming up fast and I realized that I need to start preparing her for the fact that Mommy will be going away, but coming back again. Not like Daddy (or so it seems to her in her limited conception of time). She’s good with calendars. Fascinated with dates. I got out her 2011 photo calendar that Daddy had made for her before he left that hangs by her computer.
“Bridget, what day is today?” She points. “Do you see this day here?” I pointed to the 27th when I have to leave for Los Angeles. She grabbed my finger and moved it to the 18th. “NO THIS DAY.” “No I want to talk about this day sweetheart.” “NO THIS DAY.” We had to go back and forth a couple of times before my exhausted brain realized she was negotiating with me when Daddy was coming home.
My heart broke in that moment for her.
Because I can love and cherish her and take perfect care of her by myself, but nothing can replace her Daddy in her world. They share an amazing bond, starting from the first few months of her life when he insisted on getting up with her for middle of the night feedings because he had a long work day and he said he cherished the extra quiet time with her because his evenings were so short. Now they share a love of everything to do with technology and he has taught her how to play iPhone games like Angry Birds and Paper Pilot (and then pretends to get annoyed when she beats him). She is, above all else, Daddy’s Girl.
Two nights earlier in the week, she spoke to him on the phone (well, such as she does – it’s not really a conversation) and her face light up like a Christmas tree. I hope she gets a chance to do that again before he disappears into 30 day phone list approval limbo at any moment.
I wish I could give her a date for her calendar when we can visit Daddy but even that is impossibly far in the future for her as it could likely be April or later before he can have visitors at a permanent facility.
I have a feeling this is going to get a lot worse before it gets better.