Parenting

Connecting with your child

After going out for an evening ski lesson, Talia shares her feelings with Amy

Jack Kesselman

It’s the end of the first week back to “regular life” and we’re at warp speed again. For Tal, this means school and the extracurricular clubs she loves. For me, it means back to work and to volunteering.

On Monday night, I hit a wild Autism Ontario Chapter Leadership Council meeting (hey, there’s pizza)! And Jack took Tal to her all-time favourite activity — ski lessons specifically designed for people with special needs.

Surprisingly, Jack looked grim when I got home at 9:30 after my meeting. “Tal’s upstairs in bed. She’s upset.”

I raced upstairs. Lying in bed with the day’s clothes piled on top of her covers, Tal looked teary. (We’ve been working on having Talia put clothes away in the laundry hamper. But somehow they all end up on the bed.)

“How ya doing, Tal?” I asked, stroking her forehead. “How was skiing?”

No answer from our girl. Then she said quietly, “I missed you.”

“Oh sweetie, you look like you feel sad,” I said. We hugged and I sat quietly on her bed for a while before a final kiss goodnight.

Later, I realized what a confusing time it must be for my daughter. In some ways, she’s a daredevil teen, zooming down ski slopes. And in some ways, she’s still very much a little girl.

With a shock, I realized something else. Never before had Talia said she missed me. This was the first time. And much as I don’t want my daughter to feel sad, it’s lovely that we’re so connected. It wasn’t always that way. And even lovelier that Tal’s finding a way to express her feelings.

So, I have two questions for you:

Do your kids get upset when you go out?

Any new “firsts” that you’d like to share?

Happy weekend gang!