Before I state anything else, little guy, I'm sorry. It seems like you've never been able to catch a break in your short life and this time is no different. Whether it was waking up two hours into your young life choking due to reflux, which then reared it's ugly head for over two years. Or the eczema that broke out all over your skin when you were two months old and has made you absolutely miserable ever since. Or the food allergies, recently diagnosed, that have made you have to give up foods you love off of a short menu of items you really liked and yet STILL not cleared up your skin.
It seems like everything in your young life has been one battle after another and this latest news is no different. Autism. A new challenge to overcome.
I had always known you were different. It seemed like it was a battle just to get you to smile at me. You didn't want to play the games other little babies would laugh and smile at with little effort. When around other people you rewrote the book on cranky as soon as I'd leave the room. And you were quiet...and you stayed quiet.
"Oh, he's just quiet. He'll talk when he's ready."
That seemed to be what I'd hear from everyone and, being a mom, I wanted to believe them. I kept putting the nagging little voice in the back of my head saying, "You need help with him. He's not just quiet" and shoving it into a box marked, "Parental Paranoia" and just kept on working day to day to get you to talk to me. To make eye contact with me. To answer to your name. To point. To show interest in ME pointing at something. To get you to WANT to communicate with me.
At least you made progress in infant learning. I comforted myself with your little breakthroughs. The first time you made eye contact with me and held it. The first time you scooped and poured water in the bath. The first time you took turns with me playing with a toy. Those little things, along with your smile and the way you'd cuddle up to me, got me through the day.
I've found myself envious of other parents I see with "normal" children. I've found myself on the verge of tears watching a one year old pointing at something and babbling at their parents and wanting to go over to them and telling them how very lucky they were that their child wanted to interact with the outside world. Then I'd look back at your angelic little face as you flicked a piece of plastic and laughed and also realized how darn lucky I was that I had you with me and that nothing is insurmountable if you just work at it hard enough.
But, nothing I tried WORKED. So, we had you tested. And the results did not surprise me...although they were still hard to hear. And yet, I keep thinking that it could be SO much worse. You have strengths. You have some non-verbal communication down, even if it's in your own "tongue" so to speak. You will cuddle. You aren't violent. You are mellow and so DARNED smart. Everyone who meets you can see those things. Other parents out there are not that lucky. I try to count my blessings.
It has been a hard three years for both of us little guy. And now, we have new challenges to face. But, at least we KNOW now what this new challenge is that we have to overcome and have a means to get a plan into the works that will help me to talk to you. To pull you out of that little shell that is built around the boy that is inside your head wanting to come out. To start to find those missing pieces to the jigsaw puzzle that is your want to communicate and start to get them in order so that you will want to communicate with the outside world instead of being happy in your own head.
I am living for the days in the future kiddo and look to them with optimism. That you'll point at something and want me to look at it. That I'll one day soon get to hear your voice and get to hear your thoughts and ideas. And I hope and pray that those days are someday soon because I desperately want to talk to you, my beautiful son, and hear you talk an actual sentence for the first time.
I make a promise right here, right now. I will NEVER give up on you. Ever. Just do me a favor, alright kiddo? NEVER give up on me.