There are some really and truly beautiful posts on the internet directed at people who are new to Autism world. To the Mom whose child has just gotten a diagnosis and they have no idea what to do next. The Mom who is floundering around on the internet hoping to stumble upon something – anything – that will help her and her child. The Dad who doesn’t know what IEP or NT or ASD or ABA stand for. I remember those early days SO vividly. It was terrifying and lonely.
There are posts written by women (mostly) far more talented than I and with far more experience than I and with way more resources and info available than I. I read many of those posts and they did make me feel better at the time. Thinking about them now though, my path has been very different from most of them and much of what they said would happen, hasn’t happened. Yet. I have not developed any close friendships with people I would not otherwise have met. My child has not had many of the services their children have had nor does he have many of the issues that most other ASD kids seem to have. I haven’t bought any books about Autism or gone to any conferences.
I have never felt like I was up to the task of writing a post to the mom sitting at her computer today, with tears in her eyes and an anvil on her heart, googling “son diagnosed with autism“. I don’t really have a clue what I’m doing or how I’m going to get anything done. I’m in no position to give advice.
But then something happened.
CC and Ace went to a Boy Scouts meeting which meant Jay and I were home alone for 2 hours. When I tell you that there was a time that I would be filled with dread at having to manage Jay all alone I am not exaggerating. When I say there was a time that I couldn’t imagine that the time would come when I would enjoy our alone time, I’m not being dramatic. It used to be difficult for me to have fun with him. The bottom line is that I did not used to know how to connect with him at all. I did not understand him or how to parent him or how to play with him. Whenever I was with him, it would feel like I was holding on for dear life just trying to survive until CC came home. I tried my best and I tried not to let Jay feel it but I was filled with anxiety and I was so tense that I struggled just to breath in and out.
Last night however, Jay and I fell into an easy comfortable groove. We giggled, and tickled and laughed and played and snuggled and ate and drank and were silly and were quiet. We lay in bed and I watched TV while he watched videos on the i-pad. He casually threw his leg over mine and then turned side ways so he could use my body as a pillow. He took my arm and wrapped it around himself.
Bedtime was effortless. Once he was nestled in his 4 blankets, we kissed each other over and over and told each other “I love you” over and over.
I had spent 2 full hours thoroughly ENJOYING the time with my son and he was ENJOYING his time with me.
5 minutes after that I got in the shower and as I was standing there I felt happy and content. So happy that I literally could have cried. I thought to myself, “If I could bottle this feeling and sell it, I would put all drug dealers out of business.” It was like being high.
I thought back on how I had felt for much of last year – and the year before that. I thought to myself, “THIS is what families who are just starting on this journey need to know“. They need to know that even though some days are AWFUL, there are some days – or even just moments – that are pure MAGIC and that there is HOPE. They should never ever give up on HOPE.