September 6, 2011

Endings and Beginnings

I had about an hour and a half of time to myself today. With both kids in school two mornings a week, I haven't quite figured out how to plan my free time. I have a to-do list, of course, but for various reasons, can't get them done. The place where I get my hair cut doesn't open early enough for me to fit in a visit before I pick up Jelly. The oral surgeon (ugh) only does consultations in the afternoons. I "forgot" to bring my gym bag. You get the idea.

The number one item on my list, however, is always "write new blog post." So today I went to my favorite writing spot, a local coffee house with free WiFi, ample power outlets, and a college town feel that makes me feel like a real writer.

But I'm not actually in a college town. So when I walked in today, I found a few of the usual suspects along with many, many new moms and their babies. I sat down anyway, tried to write a little, but found myself distracted. It wasn't the noise; lord knows I can write through almost anything. I was distracted by the memories of my own first mom's group meetings four years ago, Moe asleep in his car seat, me still learning how to hold a latte in one hand a push a stroller with the other.

How can it possibly be four years ago that I was one of them? How is it that so much and so little time has passed? Four years goes by in a heartbeat, and yet in this particular four years, my world has changed completely. Part of the change was just having kids, that life-changing jump from "me" to "mommy." But in the early days, Moe was just like all of those other babies. And I was just like all of those other moms.

What is even harder to believe is that we have now had as much time with Moe since his autism diagnosis as we did before it. And every day, that divide between before and after, between me and those new moms, grows bigger. My worldview has shifted. I am deeply and fundamentally changed, both stronger and more fragile, sometimes sadder, but often more hopeful than ever before.

They say one ending starts another beginning. Moe's diagnosis put him on a new path, ending his "normal childhood" and filling his days with early intervention and special education. But it also gave us answers and started us on a path toward healing. The diagnosis put me on new path too. I am a special needs parent. I am a blogger. I am a member of a new community of parents, helping each other out one day at a time.

And I've gotten really good at juggling a latte in one hand a stroller in the other.

This post inspired by the prompt "Where did it all begin?" at Kick in the Blog


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