Typically Atypical.

Today, I get an email from my daughters’ teacher. The girls apparently brought in their book order sheets, ordering about $75 in reading material with about $17 in cash. The email instructed me to please help the girls with their order.

This isn’t typical daily fare I deal with but in a hit and miss way, yes it is. Last night, knowing that today was order cut off and knowing my girls wanted to get some books, and knowing Lex had just over ten dollars and Linds had just over five dollars, I told them they could order one book apiece. I reminded them twice yesterday evening that they needed to make their selection, put what they thought was the appropriate money with the form into an envelope left on the table for them by yours truly. I said do it as soon as possible and then I would double check it and help them out.

Sounds simple enough right? I mean they are fifteen, not three. Bed time comes around (with me heading that direction at the same time) and they’re scrambling to get it together. I tell them they’ve had plenty of time and notice, and now it is too late aka no book order will be placed at this point. Thats all I know until, of course, I get the email stating otherwise.

What my daughters struggle with has never been officially diagnosed. Yes, they both have very fragile immune systems. Yes, they struggle big time in school, specifically with time and numbers/money. Yes, they are socially awkward with peers. But without a label, which I will actually be both terrified and relieved to finally hear, if it ever comes, it’s just me in the dark.

With all that I studied in College about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) and Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE), I swear they/we live with the latter, though no way to prove it. I would never suggest their bio mom drank on purpose when she was pregnant. There was, however, a period of time where we were yet to discover she was with child(s) and quite possibly in that time, drinks were consumed, forever damaging my daughters for life.

When you talk to them, it’s as though you are connecting and speaking their language, which is my language. But more times than not, it’s like conversing with the family dog. Nothing is getting absorbed. Heads are nodding but the brain is elsewhere or nowhere, especially in the moment.

But see, at the same time they are neither mindless nor unintelligent. Stuff has been absorbed. Memories can be accessed. Heck, even random facts, full songs of lyrics and much, much more is alive and well in their brains. That shows me that normalcy does exist within them but because its coming from these two individuals, it borders on extraordinary if that makes any sense. And this is the quandry. There is so much going on upstairs therefore making the diagnosis that much more difficult to bullseye. If they had the physical characteristics of someone with FAS then we could see them coming. Same goes with down syndrome. The outward package would reflect the inner struggle but not so much with sweet Lexis and Lindsey.

And so another evening creeps in and all is well inside these walls. What tomorrow will bring could be the typical daily grind with nothing odd to deal with. But I know that’s just a figment of my hopeful imagination. Though small these happenings are, and no matter how used to the chaos of it all that I am, tomorrow will stand on its own, and that’s ok. The “Daddy, we missed the bus” bi-weekly or more texts or the episode like I outlined at the start of this post.. something will take place. And if it didn’t, it would be downright weird.


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