Dear Karma

I have been worried about this day for a long time. I have watched the bagger at our local grocery store and complained to the store manager when the cashier barked at him to move faster. I’ve talked to the ticket-taker at our movie theater about her nail polish and waited as she told me about her little sister who polished them. As I left them I hoped everyone after me would do the same.

Today Ashlyn begins her first job experience. There is a good chance she will talk more than she works and forget instructions a second or so after they are given and I don’t even want to think about what will happen if the grapes in her lunch are smushed. She will have a job coach to help her along but nothing to guard her from impatience or critical eyes or long stares, no principal’s office to send the general public.

Last night she packed her lunch for far longer than it will take to eat it and wondered over her “job shirt.” I stayed up late over-thinking and woke up early to continue more of the same. I have to hand her over to the world today and hope she finds kindness in return. I can’t create an 18 year-old sized bubble to put her in or follow behind her, giving “the look” to anyone who even thinks of rolling their eyes. I can only stay here and hope that she gets back what she gives.

Your worst offense would be taking her favorite seat on the bus or asking her to wear matching socks. You can take too long and lose your checkbook and forget to brush your teeth and she will still ask you about your day and tell you about this week’s soccer practice. If you see her, please smile back when she smiles at you and give her an extra second to help with what you need and just be nice. Be nice.

We talked through the door as she waited for the bus this morning, because she wanted to wait alone, but not really. She smiled and jumped a little as her ride arrived and ran to the doors with plans for the best. day. ever.

I can only hope the universe gives her just that.

autism and independence



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  1. says

    I am a teacher of high school kids. While it is not quite the same as the feelings of a parent (I am also a parent), we do feel a camaraderie with you and share in your joys and sorrows. My autistic students are not always the ones I worry about the most because they have a support system. If they have a bad day there are usually people at home (at least) that will help them make some sense of it and guide them. The students I worry about are the ones with no support system, no guidance, no loving mother and father and siblings who are excited when they get home. Even if your daughter has a bad day, she still has all of you and that is so much more important. I hope it went well!

  2. says

    Lumpy throat and watery eyes today as I catch up on this. I hope the world is kind to her and is open to receive the gifts she has to offer simply by being herself.

    You know that wonderful quote about giving our kids roots and wings? Yeah, now comes the hard part–letting her spread hers and hoping they are strong and true. Big hugs.
    Niksmom recently posted..Words into action

  3. says

    hoping her first day was NICE and uneventful or just plain ole fun and ordinary. I want the world to be NICE too, to all our children, I want our children to be NICE to each other and the world around them.

    So I’m sitting here, sending you all the good juju I can and knowing that Ashlyn is going to be just great.
    She is.


  4. says

    Hi Jessica, I found you through the Honest Mom Link-up, and I’m so glad I did. This is a beautiful post, I think any mother could relate to your anxiety sending Ashlyn out into the world. I hope she had a great first day of work! Wishing you all the best <3

  5. says

    I wish I could go wherever she is on her first day working and smile at her.
    I also wish I could go wherever YOU are on her first day working and smile at you.

    Oh, and hugs. Yes, a hug would be good, too.
    julie gardner recently posted..Brave

  6. says

    Oh, I hope she has the best first day imaginable. I hope everyone she encounters slows down a minute to appreciate her smile. I wish there was a trick to turn off the worrying but there isn’t. Just know you’ve given her as much as you can as far as preparation and know in your heart she’s a good person because she is and you helped her become who she is and ultimately all we can do is hope that that goodness wins.
    Arnebya recently posted..Wordful Wednesday: The Fourness of My Four-Year-Old

    • says

      My (or her) saving grace is that she always sees the good in people so she notices far less of the “looks” than I do. She definitely knows how to kill them with kindness which has always worked in her favor.

  7. says

    I felt my heart beat faster and faster as read this! I also am sobbing. I’m sending the best thoughts to you and your daughter. I can’t wait to read the post that tells of all her successes and pray that I never have to read about an off day. Congratulations to you both for getting to this point. You give me so much hope that one day my daughter and I will have our own moment like this!! Love and hugs to you both!! xo
    Kathy Radigan recently posted..The Joy of Baking

    • says

      She will Kathy, it may seem so far away now but one of these days you will be sending your daughter off with just as many nervous feelings as I have… not sure if that makes you feel better or worse :).

  8. says

    Ugh! I’m nervous for both of you! People need to stop and look these young people in the eyes and realize that they are people, they are someone’s kids – not just an annoyance in their day. I hope she meets smiles and kindness and friendly conversation. I hope she has a great day, and I can’t wait to hear about it!
    Kathy at kissing the frog recently posted..You Won’t Believe What the Doctor Found in My Son’s Nose and How it Got There