Life changes in an instant

It’s amazing how you can be on top of the world one minute and in the depths of despair the next. In late August, life seemed pretty normal for me and my wife. Sure there are always challenges for a couple with two full-time jobs and a busy toddler. But we knew we had a pretty good life. The day before we would begin to suspect autism might be in our lives, we both took the day off work and enjoyed a leisurely day at the mall just hanging out, shopping, seeing a movie (The Simpsons), and eating. This was kind of an anniversary present to each other….just getting a day to be with each other while our son was at daycare. I specifically remember the happiness I felt over lunch talking about the funny things our son does, pop culture, some exciting new job prospects, and the thought of a really fun trip the next year we could maybe take to celebrate the next anniversary.

The day after this outing also seemed like just another nice day. We had a stress-free shopping experience with our son in tow and were looking forward to my parents coming out for a visit. After our son went to bed though is when our lives would change forever. My parents took on a serious vibe and wanted to have a talk with us. I figured someone in the family was dying or something. They voiced some concerns about things they were seeing in our son that as first-time parents we hadn’t really noticed. Suddenly words like ‘developmental delays’ and ‘autism’ were being thrown around.

Surely our perfect little guy couldn’t have autism? Now that you mention it he doesn’t have the greatest eye contact and does seem really drawn to lights and wheels, but that’s just his thing, right? Maybe he isn’t saying a lot of words, but boys develop at a different pace, right?

For a couple of months I tried to reassure myself that this was all just some kind of bad dream and that we’d wake up and not have autism in our lives. But alas, we do, otherwise there would be no need for this blog.

The bad news….in December we got the official autism diagnosis. Our hearts were broken, dreams seemed to shatter daily. What will become of our precious little boy we wonder constantly.

The good news…slowly but surely, we’ve seen him make some great strides. He’s still just a little peanut at 2 years old (my wife likes to say that compared to us he’s only days old). He’s receiving therapy daily at a great center we found. And he’s got to be the cutest, funniest, coolest little guy I’ve ever met.

What will the future hold for my family? I wish I knew. I constantly wish I could travel forward a year or two and see what our family looks like. Is my son doing better? Do our lives have any semblance of normal? Did that pill they’re creating to restore hair growth come out and if so did it work on me?

But I know I can’t travel into the future (or change the past for that matter). I know all I can do is be in the now and plan the best I can for the future. People tell me all the time I’m doing everything I can be doing. But most days that doesn’t make it any easier. Slowly but surely I’m learning to be more patient and to laugh even when life doesn’t seem too funny.

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2 Responses to “Life changes in an instant”

  1. awalkabout Says:

    One day at a time. Exactly. With that attitude, your child will soar.

  2. wilddaisy33 Says:

    I’m always intrigued to read the stories of families who are somewhat surprised by the diagnosis of autism because we so gradually slid into it, and the diagnosis was almost anticlimactic by the time it came along. I think your way is harder because your life seems to change in an instant, you know? But at the same time, I feel like we’ve never had that crying moment and then moved past it.

    Anyway, I ramble on. I know what you mean about wanting to look forward. I always think if I could just catch a glimpse I might be at peace no matter what the future holds. That’s part of the frustration with autism – every case is so different it’s hard to know what will happen down the road. But somehow if you just KNEW it might be easier to deal with the day to day.

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