Excuse this delayed post. It happened at the time by hard drive crashed and the fixers at an unnamed repair store were serving me in a smug way. So I forgot about the incident until a recent visit to the Johnson & Johnson — a friend’s boat (no relation to anyone with money, just mold).
While cruising in the Great South Bay, Isabella jumped off the boat into a very strong current. To be fair, the captain had already jumped in the water for some reason. You never question the captain, especially this one. To test the current? To cool off? To take a whiz? He did say that Isabella should not jump in, though she was poised with a properly-fitting vest on the dive deck or whatever it’s called. I definitely said not to jump. And it happened — she jumped. Several people screamed. And then I jumped.
Isabella and I were quickly swept away by the current. The boat was not as close as I would have liked. It was still light out, so that was good. At some point, though it was later, my husband jumped in the water. Because he is about twice my size, he was taken by the current much more quickly, rendering him useless in his effort to join us in the water. (On a positive note, the water was lovely.) Someone on the boat threw us a rope with nothing attached to it. Swimming back to the boat was not an an option. Eventually someone on the boat (probably a woman) drove the boat and picked us up.
Of course, Isabella had no clue that she caused several adults to become quite frightened. The captain and the first mate (his wife, my BFF) were unusually quite — until he asked what was going to happen to Isabella? No one had ever asked me that question. I had asked myself the question often, but hearing it from a friend who knew me for a very long time was different.
I don’t know what’s going to happen. Do we ever?
Over the years, people (mostly friends) have made comments about Isabella. Most of the comments were not solicited and those that I am writing about were all unwelcomed. For example, years ago when Isabella was about 4-years-old, her speech-langauge pathologist (who Isabella still sees) referred to Isabella as “special ed.” What was she talking about? Yes, Isabella received private speech, occupational, and physical therapy, but she wasn’t even a student yet. Or was she? It took that comment to make me realize that I may need to consider an alternative school setting for Zachary’s twin sister. It took me about 4 more years to take action as a result of that comment.
My response is, thankfully, is not always that delayed. More recently a special needs camp director (who my mother worked with in Brooklyn) remarked that perhaps Isabella’s hair should be shorter so she could care for it herself. I did want Isabella to be more independent, but her hair was so beautiful. Her hair stylist, who is a friend of mine, resisted cutting her hair. We left the salon with a trim as Isabella’s stunning locks tangled in the breeze. I said that I’d give it a week to see how are moving went. By day 3, I called the salon.
Though it was probably more about my morning sanity than it was about Isabella’s independence. I couldn’t take it. Isabella’s fine hair ended up as a clump in the back of her head every morning. Some mornings, I threatened a scissor, but never did it, fearing that child welfare might ring my bell. Also, and this was at the core of not wanting to cut Isabella’s hair, her hair is exquisite. It’s the kind of hair that people notice — rich color, shiny, and with a beautiful bounce. Unlike the other girls in own home, Isabella does not have a single bit of frizz. She never has a bad hair day.
And there was something else that I was thinking. Most women with developmental disabilities have short hair…and it’s not styled well. It makes them look, well, disabled. I was afraid of that. That didn’t happen. People still remark about Isabella’s spectacular hair…and as an added bonus, she cares for it completely by herself. The scissors are in the drawer and I’m happy every morning.