This summer has been easier than parenting summers past, at least so far. Traveling is easier, as both Seymour and I realized during our recent Seattle trip - no strollers, and less worry that Leelo will pull a flailing violent octopus maneuver on a TSA agent.
Camps are easier, too. The girls have been going with friends - Iz with Merlin, and Mali with Jennyalice's Lucy, which means carpools and built-in playdates. Easy.
I noticed the most blood-pressure-lowering difference this past week, the first of Iz's two weeks of day-long campity camp -- with Leo feeling comfortable in his skin, I don't freak about having to drag Mali and Leelo through knots and clots of girls and parents trying to fight their way to the clipboard lady/gatekeeper without whose acknowledgment none may board the bus. Signing in and out is easy. It's never been easy before.
But it's not always breezy. Yesterday, as we arrived for pickup and just as the bus of chanting campers pulled to the curb, Leo announced that he had to pee. There were no open bathrooms in the vicinity and the clipboard lady frowns with authority at latecomers, so I pulled him behind a bush and had him do his business there as Lucy and Mali stood to the side and pretended not to watch.
I assured the girls that peeing in schoolyard landscaping was tolerated under specific circumstances, and even kind of cool. "Sometimes, when you're a boy, it's great! You can pee in bushes all over the world!"
"Sometimes, when you're a girl, you have a brother with autism. And then your whole world changes." replied Mali. (She's five.)
"Yeah." said Lucy, knowingly. (She's four.)
Me: Wide-eyed silence. I don't think they were asking for a response.
I suspect these girls will be wiser than their peers in many ways. And I hope that they will always be friends, because it's important to have people in your life who understand that having a sibling with autism doesn't mean you live in a sideshow. These girls know that other people may view their world as different -- but to them, it's just reality.