Thursday, July 5, 2012
Eleven years ago today, I became a mother.
I had just moved to a new state where my husband had followed a job opportunity when we learned that we were expecting a baby.
Shocked. We were utterly shocked. It wasn't supposed to be that easy, you see. Doctors had told me this.
And, so, with that prognosis in mind, I had set about my education in law so that I could join my lawyer hubby on our career paths towards an uber YUPPIE life. Kids? We'd worry about kids later.
Well, later happened just when I earned my law degree, both of our eyes were wide with shock. We were completely unprepared, although firm in our belief that we wanted to be parents. And, we wanted those children to have a mother who did not work outside the home.
Bye-bye wildly successful legal career. Hello diapers.
I labored as the Fourth of July fireworks sounded outside of my bedroom window. Hours later, on July 5, our older son was born. The birth was not without trauma, which I've done well to block over the past decade, and as I sat in the aftermath, doped up on drugs to numb the pain, I watched the swirling chaos of the people in the room. That's when I first heard him cry.
It wasn't right.
I might have been a mother for mere minutes, but I knew children enough to know that the cry was not normal. What was that? Why does he sound like that? I remember thinking.
As time progressed and I finally got to hold him, I saw him, fists clenched, breathing frantic, face...not at peace. Yes, when I looked at my child in his first hours of life, something inside me questioned his development, but that thought was so taboo and so scary, I pushed it--I forced it--out of my mind. I cemented a smile on my face, and I moved forward.
Some parents to autism will report the onset of symptoms happening around the ages of 18 months to two years of age; however, there are cases of classic autism where symptoms are noted at birth. We believe that our older son fits into the latter category, and try as we did to not voice what we instinctively knew from the start, our struggle was obvious. Our child's struggle was obvious.
Every year on this day, I think of our son's birth and the hard road we have traveled with him. Not one step has been easy. Not a single step. Yet my husband and I are blessed to know that this fact has made the triumphs feel that much greater. And, each year, we are able to see that we have come a little further than the year before.
Happy Birthday, Little Man.
You have made me a better person than I ever thought I could be.
It's the NaBloPoMo July Challenge. Can I really blog for thirty-one days about thirty-one interpretations on the word "Kids"?