"What if people are mean to me? "
"What if there are people I don't know?"
"What if everyone makes fun of me?"
It was touch and go whether we would actually get her through the door. Then, a little girl from Riley's class arrived. Walking in with her gave Riley the courage to cross the threshold.
Riley is in this awful place where she really doesn't want her mom there, but can't quite regulate herself. Needing your mom when you don't really want her, sucks, period. I stayed, but hung in the background as much as possible. The birthday girl's family was very warm and welcoming. Thank God for good people. When I told them she has autism, you could see the light bulbs go off and the internal shifts take place.
"Ooooh! Autism. Not a brat. Great!" People are so kind when they know. Riley did need me, but only a couple of times.
There was a fashion show where they dressed up the girls and had them walk down the living room "catwalk" to thumping hip-hop music. Riley was the shyest little diva you ever did see. She skittered down the cat walk, shoulder's slumped, head down. But when it came time to strike a pose, she was all business.
That's my girl! Go, baby, go!