“It’s going to be ok.”
Those were the words I kept trying to tell myself when I first realized my son was sick. But that wasn’t what my heart felt at the time. I felt angry, betrayed by God, so sad for my little boy, so sad for us. My husband would say, “There is a reason for this,” and I would want to smack the living daylights out of him. But he was right. I just wouldn’t know it for awhile. I spent the first two weeks after our developmental pediatrician appointment holed up in a bedroom at my in-laws house (where we were living temporarily), wishing that it would all just go away. The physical and emotional pain would get so bad at times that I would actually vomit, and as I did, I tried to get the word “autism” to flush down the toilet along with the rest of my stomach contents. In the meantime, I kept hoping that my sweet little guy was too young to know that his own mother couldn’t pull it together. Except he probably could, because my face said it all. I was no longer able to get down on the floor and just play freely with him. I was now sitting there analyzing every little behavior, wanting to see no proof of autism. I wanted for us to all be wrong. Who was he going to be now that he had this label? Who were we going to be as a family?
After those first two weeks, things slowly started to get better. We immediately started a therapy program for Bean and I threw myself into research. It took a few more months for me to really get my sea legs, but eventually I did. How that happened is a story I hope to relay here bit by bit.
I spent a long time after that initial period upset with myself for having let myself fall so deep down into a big black hole. I felt I had failed my son as his mother because I couldn’t immediately see the bright side of things, couldn’t put on a fake smile. Couldn’t just say, hey, it’s going to be ok. Didn’t my son deserve that?
What I’ve learned since is that I needed to grieve, big time. And we humans don’t always do things the way we’re “supposed to”, even when we’re mothers. Sometimes things get ugly, and to sit there and wish you could take it all back is time and effort you take away from learning and growing. So what I’ve tried to do every day since is try to be just a little bit better, a little bit stronger, for myself and for my children.
Happiness is a choice. That is a concept I’ve had to work hard at, but one that I truly think I’m starting to get. There is joy in most everything, if we open our eyes to it. And, yes, there has been much joy since those original first days holed up at my in-laws’ house. Back then, I wouldn’t have believed it if you had told me. But it happened.
There is no easy road to happiness, just a series of small little things you can do everyday that will help get you there. I’m learning these things, slowly but surely. It’s the reason for this blog, to keep myself accountable, to open myself up to others trying to achieve the same thing.
I’m excited for what the future holds and for the continued joy in my life.