After spending a little quality time with Lia, I started to notice that she and I actually have a lot in common. I tend to have more filters and impulse control, but we’re both non-morning types, we both have issues with people who invade our personal space, and when we don’t want to be bothered, we don’t want to be bothered.
It was early one Saturday afternoon when I arrived for my shift with Lia. She was reclining on the sofa, apparently quite annoyed with Mom for denying her a little extra nap time.
“I’m so sorry she’s grumpy,” Mom always seemed to be apologizing for Lia’s behavior, “but if I let her sleep now, she’ll be up all night.”
“I understand.” And I truly did. I myself had, on occasion, succumbed to the allure of a refreshing afternoon nap, only to find myself wide awake well into the wee hours of the morning.
“I’m sorry.” Mom was still in apology mode.
“Don’t worry about it. We’ll be fine.” I had been mentally prepping for whatever “Lia mood” presented itself, and I was thinking I had done a pretty good job of it.
“Are you sure? She can be a handful when she gets like this.” Still apologizing.
“I’m sure.” I got this. And turning to Lia, “Right Lia?”
“Chud up! Buckit!” was the response she hurled in my direction. I won’t bother to translate.
Mom’s eyes were as big as saucers and the color started to rise in her cheeks. I laughed. And then I had to rush to explain myself. “It’s OK. Really. I’m getting used to her now.”
Mom was visibly relieved, “Most people don’t want to deal with her when she gets like this.”
“Well, I have to be honest with you,” they were both listening now, “except for that one gene, she could be me. Or I could be she. Whichever. So trust me, I understand, and we’ll be fine.”
It was Mom’s turn to laugh. She was willing to believe that Lia and I would be fine.
If you’re wondering about the “one gene”, I’m referring to the fact that Lia has Trisomy 21 (Down syndrome) as well as Autism.
As I read more about Lia’s condition, I am finding that the duality of Down syndrome and Autism is not uncommon, but it has a tendency to be discounted where research and resources are concerned. I will address this more as I learn more.
Are there others like Lia who would be willing to share their thoughts and experiences?