Half my life ago.
Half my life ago, I was a college co-ed, a biology major, determined to graduate from medical school so that I could then foster greater care to those living in Third World countries.
Half my life ago, that was my lifelong dream.
Half my life ago, I knew that I had it inside of me to better the quality of life of a population that I had decided must live across the ocean from me.
Half my life ago, my vision did not include the care of people inside my own home.
I was barely twenty when I realized that I was not well suited for pre-med course work. So, I changed paths, and, in doing so, I soon let go of my dream.
Half my life ago, I started down a different road, never imagining that I would find myself where I am today.
Mom to an eleven-year-old with severe autism, I look at our son and think that, half his life ago, he was not toilet trained.
Half his life ago, he was a three-year veteran of a 30-hour therapy work-week in an effort to bring him out of his world and into ours.
Half his life ago, he said with regularity less than ten words.
Growing up beside of him, with his ever-present smile and cheerful laughter was Little Brother. When I think of Little Brother, I remember that, half his life ago, my parents and I flew him across the country for surgery to reposition his left arm. That surgery was the journey of his young life.
Half his life ago, he had yet to be diagnosed with autism, but he spent his days alongside his older brother in therapy of his own.
Half his life ago, what became a normal childhood to him was a house with locks, windows with Plexiglas, and chasing after his brother in public.
I have sat in the surgical recovery room for my children more times than I can count, and I have looked in the eyes of doctors while having difficult conversations about mental illness, dependent futures and the question of what will their lives become when I die.
I have pinned my children down to administer medications, brush teeth and to keep them from violence.
Yet, as unexpected this path to parenting has been for me, I can't help but note that, while I'm sitting in the surgical recovery room, I am sitting next to children.
When I am face-to-face with their many doctors, it is not lost on me that these rough conversations are about my children.
These are young lives.
This is their childhood.
These will be their memories.
Half my life ago, when I quit following my dream because I thought I didn't have what it took to succeed, perhaps there was different course work I needed to learn in order to fulfill that dream in a different manner.
With hope, the quality of life that I am working to improve is that of my own sons.
Half my life ago, I had yet to learn that there is so much more to life than just me.
This entry was written in response to a writing prompt issued by the Group Blogging Experience 2 (GBE2): Half My Life Ago.