Party of one more 

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Whenever the opportunity appears, I promote self-confidence and my daughter’s I-can-do-it-by-myself attitude; yet there are times when this isn’t possible, when we need to take a more gradual approach to independence.

I dropped Frances off at a restaurant-based party yesterday to celebrate the 10th birthday of a friend that she knows from horse riding lessons.

The people hosting the party are great — such kind, loving grandparents. I knew that Frances would be safe with them in a party setting.

But could I do it? Could I just leave her with people she barely knows and go back across town to my home until it was pickup time?

No, actually, I couldn’t — not this time.

For one thing, she had never been to a party on her own before. For another thing, they didn’t know that she has ASD and that she could become overwhelmed. These factors, when considered together, told me that it wasn’t the time for her to try to go to a party alone.

So, I sat at a separate table across the room and around a corner, eating a meal, for about an hour before she knew that I was there.

For that one hour during which my presence was unknown, I could see that she was doing quite well without me when she went to a buffet. (I actually could only see her when she went to the buffet.) She always had the birthday girl with her.

I noticed a few times that the girl would put her arm around Frances’s shoulders in a protective way.

When Frances realized I was there, she was a little surprised, but I assured her that I was only there because I’d had nowhere else to wait. She really didn’t seem to mind.

Mostly, I read the news on my phone and ate my supper in relative solitude; however, at the end, I joined the group for a piece of cake.

But, as Pink Cup Sister noted, Frances still hasn’t gone to a party by herself. She’s right. Who knows? Frances did very well, so the next party could very well be the one that she attends without me.

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