Wherein I expound upon an experience from the afore-mentioned Sakura-Con.
As some of you may know, A3 has Aspberger’s Syndrome and she has a difficult time coping in social situations, especially if they are loud and/or chaotic. When she feels out of control or unable to relate to those around her she often stares at the ground and starts humming or else she runs to find a quiet place. The latter of which led to me having disturbing nightmares for about a week leading up to the convention. In these dreams my M.S. was flaring up, causing my left side to stop working. A3 was going into full melt-down mode and trying to run from the mayhem. As she disappeared among the throngs of Shinigami (Japanese Death Gods), Sailor Moon and Naruto characters I gimped after her, frantically calling her name, while convention-goers recoiled in fear thinking I was drunk and/or crazy.
A3 was already having a rough morning on the first day of the convention. She had stepped on a piece of glass the night before and not had much sleep. She clutched her Death The Kid dolls (they are characters from her favorite anime and she takes them virtually everywhere with her) and stared at the ground while we walked around.
A1 and A2 had planned on getting autographs signed by the voice actor, Vic Mignogna (mentioned in previous blog post). We expected long lines so rather than going to the opening ceremony we went directly to the large room where he was scheduled to sign autographs following the ceremony. The girls and I sat on the concrete floor between the cattle gates set up for crowd control. As more people arrived A3 decided that she’d had enough. She went over to the wall at the edge of the room with her DTK dolls and huddled down. My nightmare of the girls getting separated was coming true! After a great deal of cajoling, and offers of bribery on my part, we convinced her to return to sitting with her sisters.
When the opening ceremony ended all of the people from the room next door migrated over for autographs. Thank heavens A3 was back with us, or we would have lost her for sure. She perked up a little when Mr. Mignogna walked by the line and shouted out greetings to everyone.
The line moved slowly because everyone wanted the opportunity to purchase pictures or movies, talk with the actor and have pictures taken. After about another 45 minutes of waiting it was our turn to meet him. A1 and A2 moved right up to the table with their pictures, asking him to sign those, as well as a skateboard that A2 had brought.
Quite suddenly Mr. Mignogna shouted out, “Maka! It’s your dad. I love you Maka!”
Maka Albarn is the character that A3 was cosplaying as and in the Anime her character is from Mr. Mignogna plays the role of Spirit, her father. I admit that for a brief moment I panicked. Not only because he shouted so loud that it scared the bejeezus out of me, but because I was afraid of A3 having a major meltdown. To my surprise and delight, she laughed! She happily stood next to him for a picture, while smiling at the camera and making eye contact.
For the next two days of the convention that was all A3 talked about. In subsequent pictures of A3 she continued to look down or off in the distance and she seldom set her DTK dolls down.
Now that we’re back home and into a “normal” setting and routine A3 is still gushing about meeting her “Dad”. My only regret from the entire affair is that I wasn’t recording the encounter.
Vic Mignogna had several panels and at least one more autograph signing session, but since nothing could have topped that first experience, we didn’t join the line for the latter event. A3 has the autographed picture he signed on a shelf of honor in her bedroom, but she keeps taking it down to look at it. We are sticking the picture in a frame for her today so she doesn’t wear the poor thing out.
ps, I’m getting feeling back in my arms again!