Tuesday, June 12, 2012
A little over four years ago I was thrust in to a world I knew all too much about. I saw it happening to us. I knew exactly what the diagnosis would be. I had seen kids regress before but I must admit I never imaginined it would happen to my beloved Avery. I bit my lip and tried to share with my husband and loved ones what I knew was coming... but the words still stung like none other when I heard them from the "professionals." Autism. Your child has Autism. She may never talk. She may end up in an institution. She will not have friends. She will not develop meaningful relationships. Autism is lifelong. And hers is "severe." Avery is 6 and doesn't speak a word. She seems to understand very little and spends most of her time in her "own world." But she certainly has "meaningful" relationships. With me. with her dad. With her therapists and her adored caregiver. With her Grammy. She may not talk to us. But through touch, sounds, and simple body language... she connects. And despite what any "expert" ever tells us, Avery communicates in her own way. You just have to be patient. Be quiet. Get on her level. Tickle or kiss her, hug her. She will notice. She may not look at you. But she will reach out. With her sweet hand, and she will connect. In her way. I spend way too much time being sad about what Avery can't do. Although try as I might to always remember gratitude, and to be thankful for my precious girl and all that she is...sometimes I get overwhelmed, over-competitive, I over-analyze and over-react. I jump ahead of "today" (despite my better judgement) and freak out about what's ahead of us. Mentally, I know better. Emotionally, I can't help myself. I can "talk" myself out of a pity party. I can remind myself of what an incredible blessing Avery is. And then the next minute I find myself in tears over what Avery will miss out on. Most of the time I have a "grip." Sometimes I just don't. What a roller coaster. After 4 years you would think I would be used to the ride. So part of the point this post is to admit my fears, sadness, and confusion, and the other part is to THANK YOU, my sweet friends and family who take the time to read this. You have stuck by me, my ups and downs, my disconnected sometimes distant ability to be a true friend, and you keep reading. You don't judge me. You lift me up. You love me. You love Avery despite her differences. You wait. And you let go of your expectations of me. Thank you for being such amazing teachers. I have much to learn from all of you. And Avery and I are so incredibly blessed that YOU care about us. Thank you.