It seems for so long, Fridays have been days just for me and my littlest chameleon, Lucy. Today is no exception. And today is a very special Friday. Today Lucy is 5! “The baby” is five.years.old!
From the beginning she has had a very demanding, high maintenance older brother with ASD taking the spotlight. She also has an older sister, who although is great and loving (most of the time) , at almost 9 years apart, their lives are in very different places. As a baby and young toddler, Lucy was always so laid back. Going with the flow…as if she had any other choice. She was always so happy and even the reflux issues didn’t seem to bother her all that much. By about 2 1/2 I began to worry if she was almost too laid back. Would she grow up to be a mat that everyone could just walk all over?
No worries there. At around 3 years old she had begun to “assert” herself. She learned to make her voice heard and with her brother’s volume that can be hard to do! She can be quite a pistol! Her quick wit and almost genius comedic timing is amazing! She’s a smart one, that Goose. Despite often having to take a backseat to her brother’s needs and the running around and needs of her older sister, she continues to shine.
Fridays have been days where at least part of the day has just been for me and her. Once a week for nearly two years, Lucy and I spent a half hour together at the St. Louis Bread Company. (Affectionately known as Bread Co. or, if you’re outside the St. Louis Metro Area, it is known as Panera Bread. Or, if you’re Lucy, originally she called it “the kitchen”). During these two years Henry was going to occupational therapy (which he dubbed “cushy room”) and thankfully “the kitchen” is located in the same building. Sometimes in the summer or when school was off, big sister, Molly, would us, or grandma or even daddy. But for the most part, this was my special time alone with Lucy. We would drop Henry off for his session and head down for our time together.
Lucy would order a chocolate chip cookie and a carton of chocolate milk. Rarely a variation. Then out would come the Leapster or coloring books or magnetic “paper” dolls. Sometimes we chatted and colored together or dress the dolls in different magnetic gowns and tiaras. Sometimes she became engrossed in a Leapster game and I would catch up on updating my calendar, grocery list, or phone calls.
I watched her from across the table and was always amazed by her. Living her life with an older brother on the autism spectrum is all she knows. She doesn’t quite understand what autism is or that her brother has it. She knows that during this time on Fridays Henry was getting “therapy” and he played and had a good time. Sometimes she was sad that she didn’t get to stay. But overall would just go with the flow. Whether or not it’s because she’s had no choice and it’s all she knows or whether her personality would be this way in other circumstances, I can’t say.
The times at “the kitchen” came to a close as Henry started full-time kindergarten this past fall and we ended his regular occupational therapy sessions. I was sad to lose this time with Lucy. Since she still had one more year of preschool which runs Monday through Thursday, we’ve been able to continue our Fridays together. But we don’t get out to Bread Co. or lunch very often as unfortunately Fridays have become my “catch-up” day for work, errand running, grocery shopping, etc. My special little Goose still goes with the flow. And occasionally I try to do a little something special with her.
She continually has to vie for attention and when your brother seems to get so much all of the time (whether negative or positive) this can be hard. Lucy ADORES Maya, our respite care provider! And as WONDERFUL Maya is with including Lucy in many of their activities, she is here for Henry.
She is something. My Goose. The “ham”! Such expression this ones got! Oy! She started dance classes this past fall and I’m hoping she will see this as an outlet for her “flare for the dramatic”. A place where she can express herself. She doesn’t have to share dance class with either of her siblings. It’s just for her.
Today, even on her birthday, we will head to the grocery store. But after I have promised her lunch out and then a trip to the party store to pick out some balloons and things for her family party tomorrow. She’s a very special kid, our Goose. Wise and compassionate beyond her five years and I hope someday she will see that despite what seems like so much attention on her siblings, she always shines in my heart and my soul.
Happy 5th birthday, my Goose!