Today, August 13, 2013
Its 11:30pm and I can’t sleep for the life of me….the events of the day are still spinning around in the back of my head. “Yes, your daughter has Autism.” Oh those words that my husband and myself heard today only confirmed what we knew all along: Autumn is Autistic.
The tears started to form around my eyes as the doctor continued to disclose as to why she meets this criteria as the two nurses shook their heads in congruence with his words. We talked “mental health” jargon as Matt called it…”what grade of ASD? How much therapy? ABA? Prognosis, etc.”
I had mentally prepared myself for this day for months so I was okay. My husband, well I could see the hurt in his eyes. When we told his parents in person shortly after…the pain and disappointment in their eyes too. Talking to my mother and sister over the phone, the disbelief in their voices and sadness as I knew they were in pain knowing the journey for us all would be quite long.
A part of me wants to cry, have a “poor me, wine o’clock party” while the other part of me wants to just keep my big girl panties on and take it day by day. I am choosing the second, but don’t be surprised if I relapse and have some wine now and then.
Most parents would cringe or think it’s their “worst nightmare” being in my shoes right now, but to be honest, I am okay. Seriously I am going to be alright. Don’t worry about me, worry about Autumn and all of the trials that she will have face to overcome basic obstacles in her life. She has a long road ahead of her filled with potential social conflicts, stressors, and just getting through the combats of childhood so that she can reach her adult years. Luckily she has family support. Luckily she can possibly “climb out the window” thanks to early intervention and having a tough “helicopter mom” (that’s right, I said it) who sets the rules and boundaries that she requires in order to flourish…oh and a fantastic dad to boot.
One day at a time…one step at a time…small victories…the things that people who don’t know what its like to struggle intellectually, mentally, and physically (myself included here) have taken for granted until today. Today it all makes sense. Today I am at peace. I’ve accepted her Autism as a characteristic, that’s all it will ever be. Autumn isn’t going to be defined by one word. She will define her life based on her choices and experiences (with the right guidance of course).
Its sort of funny because I feel reborn today…tonight…into a more relaxed, I don’t give a crap what others think anymore, type of person. All of the things I festered about previously no longer matter. How I was as a parent, what I’m doing with my life, where I’m going…. Simply I don’t give a shit right now about “those things”. All that matters is making each day count. Putting the people I love and care about first. I want what’s best for my daughter and darn it, she will get it. I live for her now. Yes I live for me too, but she’s the main reason why I wake up each day and now I just received further affirmation as to why I need to be there for her more than ever, which means making sacrifices that I never imagined before she was born.
When I look back at the things I’ve accomplished in my life, the career paths I’ve chosen, the people I’ve been blessed to help and meet, who knew that all of this was preparing me for something much more greater in life? God definitely has a funny way of showing me this within my own child.
Those that are reading this, friends, family, anyone….don’t and I mean don’t feel sorry for us. We are strong. I am strong and believe me, there are worse things in life. I actually feel blessed. My daughter, my beautiful butterfly, is even more original and unique. I can only dream about her future talents and how she will excel. How she will achieve her goals. How loved she truly is. I can also only dream of the day when she will be able to verbalize her feelings, her wants, her needs, desires and love in return (things people take for granted). I can’t wait to hear her tell me “I love you mommy”….when that day comes, my life will truly be complete. I know it’s going to come. I have hope on my side.
So here’s to tomorrow. Another day, another step, and another small victory.