Having a sister in law with autism (Asperger Syndrome, to be more specific) does add a bit extra to your adult life.
Especially when she’s having a difficult time.
Without getting into details, it’s about her having friends, and how to explain to her to be careful.
We are talking about a woman in her forties here. Normal intelligence, just socially & emotionally about 12. This goes up and down due to special occasions. Small legenda of possibilities:
Around her birthday: about 5
Christmas: about 4
Meetings with her father: 14-16
When talking to me or her sibling: adult-ish
Ofcourse, these are the situations I can more or less define.
To this lovely lady, her social life is quite a hiccup. With her habits of staring out of her window to look at everything that’s happening and her asking questions, even when it seems like she’s pointing out the obvious (and therefor inappropriate) we as her direct family, are happy when she has friends to spend time with at all.
She does have some and she speaks of ‘m very warmly. Given that our only information is being provided by someone who has a handicap, however, does tend to lift an eyebrow or two every now and then.
Especially when she tells you she has been hugging with these friends, providing them access to her bank account and spends most of her time with them.
It’s at times like that, my ‘worried-mother-feeling’ rises ashore and all of my alarmbells ring like mad.
Because what should or can I do?
When confronted with the fact that her dad might have abandonded her (long story), her sibling is still there for her, her answer was:
‘I see my friends a lot more than I see you’
The kind of thing that indeed a child in puberty who has no idea how things work, say. Those who think: I know my family is there, but don’t I spend most of my time with my friends, so shouldn’t they be the ones being in charge of what feels right next to me?
Friends and money don’t go together. I’ve been taught this from a young age. As soon as you have a fight, your money is in danger. And, mind you: she HAS had a fight with these people, not too long ago. Her devotion to them is, as far as I believe, bigger than the other way around.
These friends, who I’m sure are lovely, have never really met anyone in the family. Not in over ten years. I do know a meeting would solve this problem, but I wouldn’t want to interfere in a good working friendship. Especially as it seems such an impeccable outcome on my sister-in-law. Not just for her to have a place to go if she feels like it, but also because I simply notice the difference between when I first met her, and the past two years.
She has been more grownup, even in her mind, then ever before. She is able to make analyses about her own father and the situation there than the man is capable of himself. It amazes me greatly, especially because that’s one of the things one certainly doesn’t expect of her.
It really makes me feel like an adoptive mother of some sorts. Do I let go? Do I bug in? I would never want to take her happiness away, but I do want to know for damn sure this friendship is ‘right’, as in ‘correct’.
Minding businesses, what it’s all about. Apparently.