September 13, 2009
Strangely enough, I feel relieved. The evaluation process is behind us. Though I would hardly say that the worst part is over, we know what we are dealing with. We have a doctor who is on our team and will help us move forward. There is so much we cannot predict about the future that just having something concrete (as concrete as an ASD diagnosis can be), is reassuring.
I also feel like my "mommy gut" has been validated. For so long, people told me "Moe is just moving at his own pace" or "he's just a late bloomer." But that didn't seem right to me. I felt like it was more than that, though I desperately wanted to believe that I was just being a worrying mother, overreacting to every behavior that was in some way different from the other toddlers around us. If there is a lesson in this, it is that I am The Mommy. I will trust myself.
Which brings me to my next reaction: action mode. Who do I call? What do I read? What groups do I join? I must fax, call, email the right people; get the new therapy plan in place; make appointments, attend lectures and watch videos. I have immersed myself in reading about getting coverage from Early Start and working with insurance. I am reading blogs. Did I mention that I don't even have the copy of the written report yet? I am all Autism, all the time. I do realize that this is not healthy, and "forced" myself to watch a few episodes of Project Runway. Trashy TV is now a required therapy. (For me, of course, not for Moe.)
As I write this, it is obvious that I am using the above activity to keep from thinking about how sad all of this is. Because I am so, so sad. This wasn't how it was supposed to be. Hasn't my family been through enough? Without a good sense of what Moe's future will be like, I haven't quite let go of my hopes and dreams for him, (which include, but are not limited to: a degree from Cal or, if he insists, an Ivy; a fabulous career as an architect or something equally creative yet respectable; and a lovely wife or partner of his choosing). Will I need to adjust those dreams? Is everything going to be hard for him? For me?
And there's Jelly Belly. Beautiful, perfect, blue-eyed Jelly. Will I have the energy to give her the attention she deserves? If I am so focused on Moe, will she have to find other ways to get my attention? And will Jeff and I have the strength to devote to each other at the end of the day? Will I ever get a life of my own back and am I a horrible mom for even thinking about myself?
This hardly scratches the surface. There is also guilt, anger, frustration, grief, horror, pain, disbelief, denial, did I mention guilt?, blame, fear, and exhaustion. But - and I cannot say this loud enough - there is LOVE. I love my Moe as much as any mother has ever loved her son and nothing will ever take that away.