Pamela turned 21 on March 23, and she's already begging for wine! We almost had a riot over the weekend. She whined, "I want wine", in front of a bunch of church people too. And, boy, did we get a lot of stares!
. . .
. . .
. . .
I left out a lot of context in that story. If you are the parent of an autistic child, I can almost guarantee how you filled in the blanks. Our brains automatically guess missing information based on prior experience and background knowledge. When you lack both, you come to the wrong conclusion, which is why our children have problems in social situations. And now, for the rest of the story . . .
Last Sunday, Palm Sunday, our church celebrated communion, something it does once a quarter, except for special days like next Thursday, Maundy Thursday. Every denomination has its own policy about who should take communion. We have never investigated the issue because Pamela has never shown an interest--until Sunday, the most crowded service since Christmas! Fortunately, we have been attending church for over a year now and recently became members. Everybody knows us and knows about our journey with autism: I sing in the choir, David is so tall you can't miss him, Steve is on the Youth Advisory Committee, and I spoke on autism at the monthly luncheon last October. They love Pamela, and people get so excited when she talks to them as if it were a great honor bestowed by the Queen Bee herself.
These situations usually embarass David, but this time it was so funny that he got the giggles. Then, I caught the giggles. The choir director glanced over after the second plea for wine, thought "Give the girl some wine", and started giggling when she saw David and I smothering our laughter. The people behind us started chuckling too as I tried to explain to Pamela that we have to talk to the pastor about it. Then, she changed her tune, "Permission! Permission!" Our uncontrolled mirth was so scandalous and thankfully sitting near the back prevented dirty looks for those ignorant of our dilemma.
Pamela calmed down, and we escaped a full-blown meltdown. Now I'm seeking information from a church in our denomination with a special needs ministry.
By the way, our church serves grape juice, not wine! Imagine how she would have reacted had we given her grape juice.
Never mind! I don't want to go there!