Peaceful…Through my daughter’s eyes…
I thought about this for a while. There are some photos I’ll probably post later that are more related to my own view of this. In the meantime, I kept coming back to the way my daughter expresses herself.
Since my daughter is not verbal, I don’t really know how she would define “peaceful.” As I was considering this I began to think about the way she views the world. Like many people with autism, she is compulsive about the way her belongings are ordered. It’s important for everything to be in a particular place. This makes her calm. Perhaps you can say she’s at peace.
The front part of our house is her domain. Even though she is a teenager, the space consists of stuffed animals, bins with lots of small toys, crayons, inflatables of all sizes and a brightly colored mat where she hangs out.
Her best pal is a giant stuffed gorilla named Nejo. It’s short for conejo, rabbit in Spanish. He got this name because he looks like the small gorilla my grandmother gave Mija. My grandmother was in her nineties; her eyesight was failing. She kept saying to give the conejo to the baby. We finally realized she was talking about the little stuffed gorilla a volunteer in the nursing home gave her.
When Mija was smaller she would pounce against him, or lean against him when she watched TV.
At the moment Nejo lies on the floor with a toy on top of him. We don’t know why the toy is there except that it makes Mija happy. That’s what counts. I wouldn’t dream of moving it. For some reason this toy and Nejo belong together.
Mija orders the world in ways that don’t always make sense to me. That’s okay. It’s her world and it’s important that I learn to live in there with her. Too often she is asked to live in ours. That isn’t always easy for her.
When Nejo and all the other stuffed animals and toys are in their place my daughter is content. She could spend hours “fixing” everything if so inclined.
The picture at the start of this post is one of the piles of stuffed animals that she arranges and rearranges until they are just so. This set sits on the floor between the toy bins. Across the room she also has inflatable beach balls and a pile of crayons that she doesn’t use too much any more…but don’t try to move them! She enjoys the pile just where it is…
It’s her space, her world. She put everything in it’s place the way she thinks it should be.
…and that is fine with us…it is the way it is meant to be.