I’m pretty sure my daughter’s friend thinks I’m whacky. But, maybe not. Maybe she gets me. More likely, she doesn’t think that at all because she’s not thinking about me.
The three of us are in the car. My daughter in the passenger seat; her friend in the back. I dare glance at the youngest of my two children. I take in her face, her features suspended between child and young woman. I note how her eyelashes nearly brush the inside lenses of her sunglasses.
She allows my gaze for a couple seconds before turning to me with a scalding, ‘What?” followed by a withering, “Why are you looking at me?” and finally, “Why are you talking about gorillas?”
I’m talking about gorillas, I tell her, because they’re interesting. Because we have things in common with gorillas; with other people and it pays to take notice sometimes. To think of things other than manicures and makeup and boys; switching to her dad’s house and lunches out with friends. (She’s right. I also spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about these same things.)
I’m talking about gorillas because her 13-year-old best friend in the backseat has a younger brother who is autistic and non-verbal. And I want to share a story I heard a couple evenings ago that I think she will appreciate.
As I deliver my preamble, I’m struck by how unpredictable and confusing entry-level teenagers can be. Interactions with them remind me of the time I found a raccoon in my front yard. I was surprised and happy to see this unexpected guest. How lovely and delightful! I remember thinking, “Surely this is some sort of mystical visit. Wait. Maybe it’s a dead relative come to visit in animal form!” I had to get closer. Continue reading “Sometimes, it’s gorillas”