God bless the child

Last night, we went to a Knights of Columbus dinner at our church.  We dragged Sean and Maura with us (the other two had previous engagements) and despite my lingering headache, we had a pleasant time and a good meal  (ah, church pot lucks, nothing like them!  They are the stuff of legends!)

Maura had her two Disney mermaid Barbies with her, and they were having an adventure.  They swam about, they sang, and when she dropped one, the other yelled “Oh no!  Dive! Dive!” and dove after her to rescue her.

As usual, there was the occasional grandmotherly type who’d compliment her mermaids and try to engage with her.  I love these ladies because you almost never have to explain Maura.  They’ve been around enough to figure out she’s a bit different all on their own.

But there was also this little girl in a red sweater and blonde hair, half Maura’s size and probably half Maura’s age.  And whatever Maura was doing, she found fascinating.

I saw her go up to Maura and say something about her mermaids.  Maura – being the terribly suspicious and territorial sort – hid her dolls behind her back.  The girl kept talking to her for a couple more minutes, then got tagged by a playmate and went on the chase.

But then she stopped again to chat with Maura, who just eyed her.  And then another time, I turned and found the girl had sat down at the table with Maura to talk some more.

All the while, Maura just eyed her, said nothing.  Maura doesn’t have very good social skills, partially because her ability to communicate is so far behind.  But partially because it’s just hard for her to interact with kids.  They go to fast, they don’t understand her, they see her as different and give up and move on before she can do something.  Maura loves to be social, she just can’t be sometimes.

So I told her “That little girl in red, she wants to be your friend.”

“Okay.” Maura said.

I don’t know if she got it.  We left soon after that because Maura was ready to go home and had behaved so well the entire night, we decided to work on her cues and get out of there before she turned into a pumpkin.  And while Maura didn’t quite get what was going on, I am grateful that the little girl in the red sweater tried to be a friend to my daughter – and every child like her who has tried to reach out to her over the years.