|Henry joins in...|
I checked in with my friend Pat, who confirmed no dogs would be present (Henry has a morbid and overwhelming fear of dogs, yes Jane, even your very sweet old Labrador who wouldn't hurt a fly) and that sure, Henry would be welcome.
Well, after a certain amount of trepidation and waffling we decided to go for it. And Henry had a great time! So did Paul and I, more unusually. Henry was pleasantly delighted with the snacks and the music. He'd sit on the various sofas in turn, grinning and stimming and rocking lightly in time to the music. Then he'd get up and amble about quietly looking at things, lights, even sometimes smiling gently into people's faces and standing near them, then ambling off again. He was in party mode! He did quietly polish off a medium sized bowl of potato chips (next time we'll bring a bag of chips with us!) but otherwise was well behaved. That meant Paul and I could relax (to a greater than usual extent) and enjoy ourselves too.
The really nice thing was how cool everyone was. I'd occasionally make a quick Henry explanation to someone I didn't know and people were nice but, blessedly, not overly interested! It was great to not have to trot out the whole Story of Henry six million times, just say a few words and hear in return "Oh yeah, he has autism? Okay, cool." and that was that. I was reminded of how truly accepting of differences many artists are. A relief. Nobody seemed phased or disconcerted in the least.
Anyway, I guess this seems like a long post about not very much, but it was a first, a leap, taking our 18 year old to a non-family unfamiliar-surroundings grown-up party with us. Only after two hours had passed did we look at our watches and think about moving on, simply because we were tired from a long week on Henry duty. But now I'm thinking, maybe we can try this more. Have six foot five inch boy with autism home on holiday break, will party! Some times, anyway. (Thanks again Patrick King!)