Monthly Archives: June 2012

Emotion #2: Fear

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Fear is not the second emotion that I felt, but it’s one I come back to regularly.  There’s definitely an initial fear of your child’s future:

*Will he ever be self-sufficient?

*Will he always be exactly like this?

*Will we have enough resources/money/time/energy/etc to get him everything he needs to be his best self?

And then there’s fear that comes in when something insane happens when your child (if they’re anything like mind) throws all caution to the wind to do what they want in that very moment.  It’s scary.

My son was playing after dinner tonight and was being pretty low-key.  I thought I heard some movement in the kitchen, so I went to look since it’s not somewhere my kids tend to hang out.  The back door was gaping open and our garage door hadn’t been shut.  Oh. My. Goodness.  I ran out of the garage and didn’t immediately see anyone.  I started to turn back in when I see my son about 20 feet from the busy street that intersects ours, a good 2 houses away.  Panic immediately set in as I knew I couldn’t reach him before he ran into a busy street.  I screamed his name, which came out as something bloodcurdling instead of a sugary-sweet mama calling her baby, and he started giggling (i.e. he LOVES chasing games and thought I was there to chase him).  I knew if I made any more strides in his direction, he’d keep going, so I did what usually works for us when he starts to go his own way.  I got down on my knees and held out my arms, saying “bye, bye!”

By what could only have been divine intervention, he turned as he was literally steps from the intersection and started running toward me, smiling and giggling the whole way.  If he only understood the completely vast canyon between the way each of us was feeling at that moment…..But, he made it to me and I didn’t want to let go.

I launched into as good of a tutorial as I could give (knowing most of it wasn’t going to be “heard”) about not going outside without an adult and always holding a grown-up’s hand in the street.  We even continued walking down the street practicing this for the next 10 minutes with me repeating these mantras over and over and over.

Sometimes this life can be so scary…

Emotion #1: Denial

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Your child has Autism Spectrum Disorder.

A handful of words that could and probably will change everything you’ve known about parenting and your current world.  We were pretty well prepared to hear this diagnosis, but we still acted like nothing was different.  We even went as far to say to each other “this really doesn’t change anything in our current world.”  

We were definitely in denial.  

As much of a blessing as an education diagnosis of ASD was going to be, I chose for the next several weeks to still act like my child was still my child without a label.  I hate that we’ll forever have to tack that on to who he is.  I think sometimes it’ll be helpful; it would have been great to tell the parents of the boy in front of us at church when our son kicked theirs in the head during a meltdown (yeah, it was a feat of flexibility and flailing).  But mostly, I picture the pitiful look of sympathy from family or friends whose kids are all normal neurotypical who will keep that label forever attached to my baby.  

It’s all feels really unfair and even weeks after diagnosis, I still feel compelled to keep it totally private.