“Autism,” the doctor said. But surely she didn’t mean my baby. Can’t she see how smart he is? Doesn’t she know he plays peek-a-boo?
Even though we had suspected, the words hit me like a lightning bolt. Fear pulsed through my body. Great tears welled up as I tried to make sense of what this meant for us, for him. He was barely 2 years old, and already so far behind.
“Is there anything else I can help you with?” “Just tell me he’s going to be okay.”
“Kleenex?” she offered.
Life would never be the same. My son wasn’t normal. “Neurotypical” I would learn to call it, months later, after I absorbed the lingo. Other people survived this; could I? Parents faced much worse, I knew, but I wasn’t sure I was strong enough. Quietly, we left the office.
Reality hits after soon after. Speech therapy, occupational therapy, behavior therapy fills our days. Time passes slowly as Moe seems to regress even further, or maybe I’m just seeing his delays in new light. Ugly tantrums take the place of baby giggles, often taking me long minutes or even hours to figure out he is just hungry, or tired, or cold.
Visions of an uncertain future crowd my brain. Will he be happy, have friends, learn to drive? X-ray my mind and you will see my dream of a parallel universe. Young children are playing and when my son runs up to me, I notice he is shivering slightly. “Zip up my coat, Mama – I’m cold.”
This post was written for The Red Dress Club. This week's assignment was to write a short piece in which each sentence starts with a the next letter of the alphabet. This piece is 26 sentences long.