Last night as we were coming back from the Halloween party, Maya stopped at our neighbors house to get some candy. We were on the side of the road (our neighbor came down with her bowl) and she suddenly stopped talking and abruptly rolled to the other side of the street at full speed. She looked like she was heading into a ditch. I didn’t understand what she was doing and I thought she got angry about something and was storming off.
It turned out she heard a car coming and thought she wouldn’t be seen where she was sitting in her chair. She got so upset because I thought she was being rude and unsafe and conveyed that in my tone, but she said she couldn’t get the words out fast enough to tell me what she was doing. She felt embarrassed and frustrated.
Once I knew what was going on I told her I wasn’t upset with her. But she said SHE was upset. She told me it’s really hard for her because she can’t move and talk at the same time and people don’t always understand her or what she is doing. Even when she isn’t moving it’s hard for her to speak as quickly as her thoughts come.
I can’t imagine how upsetting this is for her. We often have talks about how her pace doesn’t match most people in society, but even I catch myself moving too fast and walking ahead of her. I have been thinking a lot lately about this issue of how Maya’s pace often leaves her out of sync with the flow of life. She has to hope that others will slow down and be with her in her rhythm and that requires people to consciously adjust their pace and be motivated to do so. Last night I watched the little children and her peers running around in groups, giggling and playing. I felt sad knowing that Maya was outside of their rhythm and wishing that it could be different. She seemed happy chatting with the adults, eating and introducing herself, but I still felt grief welling up inside of me. I had to tell myself that Maya’s experiences have and always will be slightly different than her peers. This doesn’t mean she is unhappy but sometimes I can’t stop myself from wishing that she could be in their fold.
*The picture I chose for this post is of Maya and one of her friends who is always willing and happy to slow down and connect with her in her own rhythm.