January 6, 2011

Dreams of a Parallel Universe

“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.



52 comments:

  1. I know that feeling. Although my diagnosis came back as not autistic, just a sort of an "abuse" at the hands of his day care provider, but still speech delayed!

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  2. Oh my, this was AMAZING...had I not known about the prompt, I wouldn't have noticed the alphabet throughout.

    Lovely post as well.

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  3. Seriously, great job! I would never have noticed the alphabet if I didn't know it was supposed to be there.

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  4. The alphabet idea is neat! I had not noticed! I had a very different experience than you. I already knew long before any professionals confirmend it. BUT... I remember the day it really hit me on my own and I just KNEW FOR SURE (about 2 years before the DX), I was bawling like a baby. I had no idea what it would mean for the future- I think that's the worst part of realizing...

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  5. Great story, well written, I loved it!

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  6. Gorgeous and moving. You capture those fears, that moment of realization, and that last line, for whatever reason, just leaves me sniffly.

    So happy to have "met you" and your beautiful little boy.

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  7. I can only imagine how difficult it is to hear that word. A close friend is going through this right now with her son. Beautifully written.

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  8. wow, you really captured the feelings so well with your words and If I hadn't know about the prompt I would have not noticed it.. well done.
    Visiting from RDC

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  9. Ok I totally forgot that this was the alphabet post while reading it. Tears sprang from my eyes as I felt your fears and worries. I imagined your little boy.

    Such excellent writing!

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  10. Fabulous! It flows so well, I really enjoyed it. And it hit me, not because I have a child with Autism but because I am reading a book about a character with it so all the things you described as your daily life really hit me.

    I could not imagine the daily worries and fears involved. You are a fabulous Mom for your little boy, a great advocate.

    Visiting from Red Writing Hood

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  11. Very moving piece--the last line is so poignant!
    Great job!

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  12. I didn't even notice the alphabet thing. This is a really beautiful piece of writing.

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  13. This is truly beautifully written.
    I could feel your words and my heart aches.
    This was lovely, honest, and brave.

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  14. A parallel universe. Well done. I need that Kleenex now.

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  15. So, so well-done. Great job not letting the constraints of the assignment impede your story. The emotion really came through. Glad to have found you from the Red Dress Club!

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  16. I really enjoyed this. The last sentence, in particular, was really powerful I thought.

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  17. This was just great! I, too, didn't notice the alphabet thing. I went back and reread it and I just loved it! You truly captured it. We just walked through that very conversation. I love it when they ask if there's anything else they can help you with. Um...YES! Tell me what to do! =)

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  18. You amaze me. The strength and beauty of your writing, as well as the strength and beauty of you.

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  19. Even though I knew what the prompt was I completely forgot about it. You managed to cover diagnosis, therapy and living with autism in just 26 short sentences, now that's brilliant compact writing!

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  20. Wonderfully written. I really did forget that this was an alphabet prompt. I can honestly and truly relate to your emotions here, and the impending doom of the whole "Neurological disorder" dx. (I have a child with ADHD/Mood Disorder).

    Thanks for sharing your story in such a delightful way. Stopping in from TRDC.

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  21. I got chills and then I got teary-eyed. This was so well done.

    Visiting from TRDC

    PS - If the blog title is from Princess Bride, you are my new hero! :D

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  22. Wow, you did this so well I wouldn't have even noticed the alphabet thing unless you pointed it out, I was too busy nodding and agreeing with the content. Just wow! Jen

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  23. So very beautiful and brave and sad. You did a tremendous job with the prompt. Thank you for linking up with us.

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  24. Thank you for so eloquently sharing your life with us. :o)

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  25. This is so good, I got chills. Seriously.

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  26. So well done - as many had said - if we had not known about the prompt, I wouldn't have realized the alphabet.

    ((hugs)) Very well said.

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  27. Your heart shined through. Very well written!

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  28. Oh Jennie, I had my heart in my throat the whole time while reading this post. I felt as if I were reading my own experience with Joe's diagnosis. Your writing is so beautiful.

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  29. Beautiful post in which every sentence counts.

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  30. I can't imagine your feelings at his diagnosis. You did a great job conveying that confusion and hopelessness.

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  31. Beautiful and I didn't notice the prompt at first either - so heartfelt and lovely.

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  32. Amazing! You are very talented.

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  33. Wow that is a beautiful text and all within the context of the letters of the alphabet amazing! You are a talented writer. What a joy to discover your blog today!

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  34. Cool writing exercise but your emotion in the piece takes center stage. I really liked this.

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  35. This is so good. I got chills and tears. So great. Happy SITS Day btw

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  36. A beautiful piece that was amazingly done in the format you had to work under! My son has Tourette's, OCD, Depression, Anxiety and some sensory disorders. All we can do is love them unconditionally, give them the help they need and wait. Your son IS smart. Let us not forget to nourish the ABILITIES they have too.

    Deja vu? I think I know you from the FLTW book club!

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  37. This is a beautiful, gut-wrenching story. I do not know your pain. I can only imagine. That moment. Those words.

    They happened long ago and I'm sure you have found blessings and strength you never knew you had. You can do this. You are doing this. And you are an inspiration.

    Thank you for sharing your story.

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  38. Such a sad, beautifully written portrait. I didn't even notice you were using each letter of the alphabet until I read the prompt. It flowed perfectly.

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  39. Wow, what wonderful writing. You have such a way with words, I wish I was this talented in my writing. I can't believe you took on the ABC challenge with such a tough topic, that takes guts and you pulled it off beautifully.

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  40. I'm so glad this sweet boy has a good mama who wants the best for him. Beautiful story.

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  41. Why are kids all of a sudden getting Austim...Is the rise only in America?

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  42. Sounds like such a tough day, you did a beautiful job writing about it.

    (Happy SITS day!)

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  43. Thanks for sharing what must have been an emotionally exhausting day. Even though I wasn't there...reading that gave me a moment's walk in your shoes. Thank you!

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  44. Wow. I didn't realize it was an alphabetic entry until I read someone else's comment. I know that day all too well. Although, we spent over a year battling to decide whether or not it was autism by the time he was finally diagnosed. So we knew. We just didn't KNOW know. You know?

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  45. Very well written. I can't imagine how difficult that day must have been for you.

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  46. This is so beautiful. I have been in your shoes with words like Autism and CP as they are directed at our twins. OT, PT, speech, vision, and infant stim fill our days as like you we try to find our way down this path while not getting so lost in the trees that we can no longer see the forest. I am sending you a big mommy hug and thanks for using your blog to share Moe and Jelly and their super mommy with all of us. Happy SITS day to you. Shannon

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  47. Wow, that's a beautiful post. Over the years I've worked with autistic children. They do have brilliant minds, and I even noticed signs of autism in an eight year old child, but it's never easy to hear when it's your child. Happy belated SITS day!

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I love comments! Respectful disagreement always encouraged.

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