(Please note, this might not be the best analogy or comparison, but I think it illustrates my point nicely).
There is a scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) where the Black Knight and King Arthur square off over passage over a “bridge.” In it, King Arthur bests the Black Knight by first cutting off both of his arms, then his legs. The Black Knight remains defiant, exclaiming that, “It’s just a flesh wound!”
I don’t know why that sketch reminded me a little bit of Kaitlyn, but I am going to try to explain it.
Amber and I continually learn more about Kaitlyn, and sometimes we just need a refresher on what makes her so special. We certainly got that refresher during our vacation last week. Hopefully my explanation makes sense with my use of the Black Knight analogy (although her defiance sometimes rivals that of the Black Knight, I am going for something else in using his character here).
To me, when the Black Knight exclaims that losing his arms is a “flesh wound,” it says to me that there is way more to him than just what we see on a superficial level (although an argument can be made that losing one’s arms is a tad more than a mere “flesh wound.”).
Kaitlyn is that way, too. No, we are not thinking about cutting off her arms and legs to find out. With her, there is really nothing superficial, no flesh wounds. If you want to make a connection with her, you are best served to form a deep, personal relationship with her; while she will certainly happily accept a present from you, she would rather actually do things with you.
Throughout our trip, Amber and I offered to buy Kaitlyn almost anything she wanted (within reason, of course), and she continually refused. We walked her through each of the gift shops on the ship with the intent of letting her pick out multiple souvenirs for herself, but she only picked out a couple. She was more into sharing the experience with us than having us buy her things. When it came to buying things, she was happy to be able to spend her own money on buying herself exactly what she wanted.
Amber and I have to constantly remind ourselves that one of the many wonderful things about Kaitlyn’s Asperger’s is that she is not nearly as driven by superficial things as a lot of kids are. We try our best to make sure that people understand that about her, while trying to get across that it is still ok to buy her presents, too; we just want people to make the effort to really develop a deep relationship with her because that is what makes the greatest impact on her.